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No. 22 Wall-street: 


1p .,...v.,. 

C. S. Tan Winkle, Pnniei. 






So wenig er audi bestimmt seya ma^ andere zu belehren, sa 
wiinscht er dock sich denen mitzutheilen, die er sick gleichg-e- 
sinnt weiss odor hofft, deren Anzahl aber in der Breite der 
Welt zerstreut ist : er wiinscht sein Verhaltniss zu den altesteu 
Freunden wieder anzukniipfen, nnit neuen es fortzusetzen, und 
in der letzen generation sich wieder andere fiir sein iibrige 
Lebenszeit zu geivinnen. Er wiinscht der Jug-end die Um- 
wege zu ersparen, auf denen er sich selbst verirrte. 


Translation. — Little call as he my have to instruct others, 
he wishes nevertheless to open out his heart to such as he either 
knows or hopes to be of like mind with himself, but who are 
widely scattered in the world : he wishes to knit anew his 
connections with his oldest friends, to continue those recently 
formed, and to win other friends among- the rising- generation 
for the remaining course of his life. He wishes to spare the young 
those circuitous paths, en which he hirr}seli Lad lost his way. 



The motives of the pj^esent work — Reeepiion of the Au' 
thorns first puhlication — The discipline of his taste at 
school — TJie effect of coritemporary writers on youthful 
minds — Bowleses sonnets — Comparison between the Fo" 
ets before and since Mr. Pope, 

It has been my lot to have had my name introduced^ 
both in conversation and in print, more frequently than 
I find it easy to explain, whether I consider the fewness, 
unimportance, and limited circulation of my writings, 
or the retirement and distance in which I have lived, 
both from the literary and political world. Most often 
it has been connected with some charge which I could 
not acknowledge, or some principle which I had never 
entertained. Nevertheless, had I had no other motive, or 
incitement, the reader would not have been troubled with 
this exculpation. What my additional purposes were, 
yviW be seen in the following pages. It will be found, 
that the least of what I have written concerns myself 
personally. I have used the narration chiefly for the 
purpose of giving a continuity to the work, in part for the 
sake of the miscellaneous reflections suggested to me by 
particular events, but still more as introductory to the 
statement of my principles in politics, religion, and phi- 
losophy, and the application of the rules, deduced from 
philosophical principles, to poetry and criticism. But of 
the objects which 1 proposed to myself, it was not the 
least important to effect, as far as possible, a settlement of 
the long continued controversy concjerning the true nature 
of poetic diction: and, at the same time, to define with th^ 

Vol. r. 1 

utmost impartiality the real poetic character of the poet, 
Ijy whose writings this controversy was first kindled^ and 
has been since fuelled and fanned. 

In 1794, when J had barely passed the verge of man- 
hood, I publislied a small volume of junvenile poems* 
They were received with a degree of favour which, 
young as I was, I well know was bestowed on them not 
so much for any positive merit, as because they were con- 
sidered buds ol hope, and promises of better works to 
come. The critics of that day, the most flattering, equal- 
ly with the severest, concurred in objecting to ihem, ob- 
scurity, a general turgidness of diction, and a profusion of 
new coined double epithets.* The first is the fault which 
a writer is the least able to detect in his own composi- 
tions ; and my mind was not then sufficient!}' disciplined 
to receive the authority of others, as a substitute for my 
own conviction. Satisfied that the thoughts, such as they 
were, could not have been expressed otherwise, or at 
least more perspicuously, 1 forgot to inquire, whether the 
thoughts themselves did not demand a degree of atten- 
tion unsuitable to the nature and objects of poetry. This 
remark however applies chiefly, though not exclusively, to 
the Religious .Musings. The remainder of the charge I 
admitted to its full extent, and not without sincere ac- 
knowledgments to both my private and public censors 
for their friendly admonitions. In the after editions, I 

* The authoriU- of Milton and Shakspeare may be usefully pointed 
out to young- authors. In the Comus, aiul earlier poems of Milton there 
is a s^upei-fluity of double e})ilhet.s ; while in the Paradise Lost we (Ind 
verj- few^ in the Paradise J-leg-ained scarce any. The same remark 
holds almost equally true of the Loa e's Labour Lost, Romeo and Juliet^ 
Venus and Adonis, and Lucrece, compared with the Lear, Macbeth, 
Othello, and Ham'et of our g-roat dramatist. The rule for the admission 
of double epithets seems to be this : either that they should be already de- 
nizens of our lang-uag:e, suc^i as blood-stained, ferror-stricken, serf-ap- 
plauding : or when a new epithet, or one found in books only, is hazard- 
ed, that it, at It;ast, be one word, not two words made one by mere virtue 
of the printer's hyphen. A language which, like the Engfish, is almost 
without cases, is indeed in its \ ery genius unfitted for compounds. If a 
writer, e\'erv time a compounded "word suggests itself to him, would seek 
for some other mode of expressing the same sense, the chances are al- 
ways greatly in favour of his finding- a better word. '* Tanquam scopu- 
lum sic vites insoUns veibum," is tlie wise advice of Cfesar to the Roman 
orators, and the j)i-ecept applies with double force to the writers in our 
<>wn language. But it must' not be forgotten, that the same Caesar wrote 
a granunatical treatise for the purpose of reforming the ordinary language 
hy biinging it to a greater accordance with the principles of logic or uni- 
versal grunmiar.. 

pruned the double epithets with no sparing hand, and used 
my best efforts to tame the swell and glitter both of 
thought and diction ; though, in truth, these parasite plants 
of youthful poetry had insinuated themselves into my 
longer poems with such intricacy of union, that I was 
obliged to omit disentanglin«( the weed, from the fear of 
snapping the flower From that period to the date of the 
present work I have published nothing, with my name, 
which could by any possibility have come before the 
board of anonymous criticism. Even the three or four 
poems, printed with the works of a friend, as far as they 
were censured at all, were charged with the same or si- 
milar defects, though I am persuaded not with equal jus- 
tice : with an excess of ornament, in addition to strain- 
ed AND ELABORATE DICTION. (Vide the criticisms on the 
'' Ancient Mariner," in the Monthly arid Critical Review- 
ers ofthefint volume of the Lyrical Ballads.) May I be 
permitted to add, that, even at the early period of my 
juvenile poems, 1 saw and admitted the superiority of an 
austerer, and more natural style, with an insight not less 
clear, than I at present possess. My judgment was strong- 
er than were my powers of realizing its dictates ; and 
the faults of my language, though indeed partly owing to 
a wrong choice of subjects, and the desire of giving a 
poetic colouring to abstract and metaphysical truths, in 
w hich a new world then seemed to open upon me, did yet, 
in part likewise, originate in unfeigned diffidence of my 
own comparative talent. During several years of my 
youth and early manhood, I reverenced those who had 
re- introduced the manly simplicity of the Grecian, and 
ot* our own elder poets, with such enthusiasm, as made 
the hope seem presumptuous of writing successfully in the 
same style. Perhaps a similar process has happened to 
others ; but my earliest poems were marked by an ease 
and simplicity which I have studied, perhaps with infe- 
rior success, to impress on my later compositions. 

At school I enjoyed the inestimable advantage of a 
very sensible, though at the same time, a very severe 
master. Le^ early moulded my taste to the preference 
of Demosthenes to Cicero, of Homer and Theocritus to 

* The Rev. .James Bowyer, many years Head Muster of the Grammar 
sghool, Christ Hospital. 


Virc^il, and again of Virgil to Ovid. He habituated me 
to compare Lucretius, (in such extracts as I then read) 
Terence, and, above all, the chaster poems of Catullus, 
not only with the Roman poets of the, so called, silver 
and brazen ai^es ; but with even those ot the Augustan 
era : and on grounds of plain sense and universal logic 
to see and assert the superiority of the former, in the 
truth and nativeness, both of their thoughts and diction. 
At the same time that we were studying the Greek tra- 
gic poets, he made us read Shakspeare and Milton as les- 
sons : and they were the lessons too, which required most 
time and trouble to bring up, so as to escape his censure. 
1 learnt from him that poetry, even that of the loftiest, 
and, seemingly, that of the wildest odes, had a logic of 
its own, as severe as that of science ; and more difficult, 
because more subtle, more complex, and dependent on 
niore, and more fugitive causes In the truly great poets, 
he would say, there is a reason assignable, not only for 
every word, but for the position of every word ; and I 
well remember, that availing himself of the synonimies 
to the Homer of Didymus, he made us attempt to show, 
with regard to each, why it would not have answered the 
same purpose ; and wherein consisted the peculiar fitness 
of the word in the original text. 

In our own English compositions (at least for the last 
three years of our school education) he showed no mercy 
to phrase, metaphor, or image, unsupported by a sound 
sense, or where the same sense might have been con- 
veyed with equal force and dignity in plainer words. 
Lute, harp, and lyre, muse, muses, and inspirations, Pe- 
gasus, Parnassus, and Hipocrene, were all an abomina- 
tion to him In fancy I can almost hear him now, ex- 
claiming " Harp? Harp? Lyre ? Pen and ink, boy, you 
mean! Muse, boy, Muse? your JVurse^s daughter, you 
mean ! Pierian spring ? Oh ""aye ! the cloister-pump, I 
suppose /" Nay, certain introductions, similies, and ex- 
amples, were placed by name on a list of interdiction. 
Among the similies, there was, 1 remember, that of the 
Manchineel fruit, as suiting equally well with too many 
subjects ; in which, however, it yielded the palm at once 
to the example of Alexander and Clytus, which was 
equally good and apt, whatever might be the theme. 
Was it ambition ? Alexander and Clytus ! Flattery "^ 

Alexander and Clytus ! Anger ? — Drunkenness ? Prrde ? 
Friendship? Ingratitude? Late repentance? Still, still 
Alexander and Clytus I At length, the praises of agricul- 
ture having been exemplified in the sagacious observa- 
tion, that had Alexander been holding the plough he 
would not have run his friend Clytus through with a 
spear, this tried, and serviceable old friend was banished 
by public edict in secula seculorum. I have sometimes 
ventured to think, that a list of this kind, or an index ex- 
purgatorious of certain well known and ever returning 
piirases, both introductory, and transitional, including 
the large assortment of modest egotisms, and flattering 
illeisms, &c. Lc. might be hung up in our law-courts, and,., 
both bouses of parliament, with great advantage to the 
public, as an important saving of national time, an incal- 
culable relief to his Majesty's ministers, but, above all, 
as insuring the thanks of country attorneys and their 
clients, who have private bills to carry through the house. 
Be this as it may, there was one custom of our master 
wh;ch I cannot pass over in silence, because I think it table and worthy of imitation. He wauld often per- 
mit our theme exercises, under some pretext of want of 
time, to accumulate, till each lad had four or five to be 
looked over. Then placing the whole number a^rca^^ on 
his desk, he would ask the writer, why this or that sen- 
tence might not have found as appropriate a place under 
this or that other thesis : and if no satisfying answer could 
be returned, and two faults of the same kind were found 
in one exercise, the irrevocable verdict followed, the ex- 
ercise was torn up, and another on the same subject to be 
produced, in addition to the tasks of the day. The rea- 
der will, I trust, excuse this tribute of recollection to a 
man, v/hose severities, even now, not seldom furnish the 
dreams, by which the blind fancy would fain interpret to 
the mind the painful sensations of distempered sleep, but 
neither lessen nor dim the deep sense of my moral and 
intellectual obligations. He sent us to the university 
excellent Latin and Greek scholars, and tolerable Hebra- 
ists Yet our classical knowledge was the least of the 
good gifts which we derived from his zealous and con- 
scientious tutorage. He is now gone to his final reward, 
full of years, and full of honours, even of those honours 
which were dearest to his heart, as gratefully bestowed 


by that school, and still bindrng him to the interests of 
that school, in which he had been himself educated, and 
to which during his whole life he was a dedicated thing. 

From causes, which this is not the place to investigate, 
no models of past times, however perfect, can have the 
same vivid effect on the youthful mind, as the productions 
of contemporary genius. The discipline my mind had 
undergone, '' Ne falleretur rotundo sono et versuum cursu, 
cincinnis et floribus ; sed ut inspiceret quidnam subesset, 
quae sedes, quod firmamentum, quis fundus verbis ; an 
figurae essent mera ornatura et orationis fucus : vel san- 
guinis e materiae ipsius corde effluentis rubor quidam na- 
tivus et incalescentia genuina ;'' removed all obstacles to 
the appreciation of excellence.- m style without diminish- 
ing my delight. That 1 was thus prepared for the peru- 
s'al of Mr. Bowles's sonnets and earlier poems, at once 
increased their influence and 7ny enthusiasm. The great 
works of past ages seem, to a young man, things of another 
race, in respect to which his faculties must remain pas.-ive 
and submiss, even as to the stars and mountains. But the 
writings of a contemporary, perhaps not many years el- 
der than himself, surrounded by the same circumstances, 
and disciplined by the same manners, possess a reality 
for him, and inspire an actual friendship as of a man for 
a man His very admiration is the wind which fans and 
feeds his hope. The poems themselves assume the pro- 
perties of flesh and blood. To recite, to extol, to con- 
tend for them, is but the payment of a debt due to one 
who exists to receive it. 

There are indeed modes of teachings which have pro- 
duced, and are producing, youths of a very diflerent 
stamp ; modes of teaching, in comparison with which we 
have been called on to despise our great public schools, 
and universities, 

" In whose halls are hung* 
Armoury of the invincible knights of old" — 

modes by which children are to be metamorphosed into 
prodigies. And prodigies with a vengeance have 1 known 
thus produced! Prodigies of self-conceit, shallowness, 
arrogance, and infidelity ! Instead of storing the memory^ 
during the period when the memory is the predominant 
faculty, with facts for the after exercise of the judgment ^ 


and instead of awakenino- by the noblest mod<^Is the fond 
and unmixed Love and Admiration, which is the natural 
and graceful temper of early youth ; these nurselings of 
improved pedagogy are taught to dispute and decide ; 
to suspect all but their own and their lecturer's wisdom ; 
and to hold nothing sacred from their contempt but their 
own contemptible arrogance ; boy-graduates in all the 
technicals, and in all the dirty passions and impudence 
of anonymous criticism To such dispositions alone can 
the admonition of Pliny be requisite, " Neque enim de- 
bet operibus ejus obesse, quod vivit. An si inter eos, 
quos nunquam vidimus, floruisset, non solum libros ejus, 
verum etiam imagines conquireremus, ejusdem nunc honor 
pra.^senlis, et gratia quasi satietate languescet ? At hoc 
pravum, raalignumque est, non admirari hominem admi- 
ralione dignissimum, quia videre, complecti, nee laudare 
tantum, verum etiam amare contingit." Plin. Epist. 
Lib, L 

I had just entered on my seventeenth year, when the 
sonnets of Mr. Bowles, twenty in number, and just then 
published in a quarto pamphlet, were first made known 
and presented to me by a schoolfellow who had quitted 
lis for the university, and who, during the whole time 
that he was in our first form, (or, in our school language, 
a Grecian,) had been my patron and protector. I refer 
to Dr. Middleton, the truly learned, and Q\'efy way ex- 
cellent Bishop of Calcutta : 

*' Qui lauiiibus amplis 
Inpi-enium celebrare meiim, calainumque solebat,. 
Calcar agens animo valid um. Non omnia terrai 
Obruta* Vivit amor, vivit dolor! Ora negatur 
Dulcia conspicere ; at flere et meminisse* relictum est.''~ 

Peti\ Ep. Lib, L Ep, L 

It was a double pleasure to me, and still remains a ten- 
der recollection, that I should have received from a friend 
so revered the first knowledge of a poet, by whose works, 

* I am most happy to have the necessity ofinformin^ the reader, that 
since this passag-e a\ as written, the report of Ih\ Midclleton's death, on- 
his voyajre to India, has be<?ii proved erroneous. He lives, and long: may 
he Hve ; for I dare prophecy, that with his life only will his exertions fbr 
the temporal and spiritual welfare of tiis fellow nien. be limited. 


year after year, 1 was so enthusiastically delighted and 
inspired. My earliest acquaintances will not have for- 
gotten the undisci})iined eagerness and impetuous zeal 
with which 1 laboured to make proselytes, not only of 
my companions, but of all with whom I conversed of 
whatever rank, and in whatever place. As my school 
finances did not permit me to purchase copies, I made, 
within less than a year and an half, more than forty 
transcriptions, as the best presents I could offer to those, 
who had in any way won my regard. And with almost 
equal delight did 1 receive the three or four following 
publications of the same author. 

Though 1 have seen and known enough of mankind to 
])e well aware, that 1 shall perhaps stand alone in my 
creed, and that it will be well if 1 subject myself to no 
worse charge than that of singularity ; I am not there- 
fore deterred from avowing, that I regard, and ever have 
reiirarded the obli<^ations of intellect anionic: the most sa- 
cred of the claims of gratitude. A valuable thought, or 
a particular train of thoughts, gives me additional plea- 
sure, when I can safely refer and attribute it to the con- 
versation or correspondence of another. My obligations 
to Mr. Bowles were indeed important, and for radical 
good. At a very premature age, even before my fifteenth 
year, 1 had bewildered myself in metaphysics, and in 
theological controversy. Nothing else pleased me- His- 
tory, and particular facts lost all interest in my mind. 
Poetry (though for a school-boy of that age, I was above 
par in English versification, and had already produced 
two or three compositions which, I may venture to say, 
without reference to my age, were somewhat above me- 
diocrity, and which had gained me more credit than the 
sound good sense of my old master was at all pleased 
with) poetry iiself, yea novels and romances, became in- 
sipid to me. In my friendless wanderings on our leave- 
days,'^ (for I was an orphan, and had scarce any connex- 
ions in London) highly was I delighted, if any passenger, 
especially if he were drest in black, would enter into con- 
versation with me. For \ soon found the means of direct- 
ing it to my favourite subjects 

* The Christ hospital phrase, not for holidays altogether, but for those 
ctn which the boys are permitted to go beyond the precincts of the schooL 


Of providence, forc-knowled<^e, will, and fate, 
Fix'd fate, free will, fore-knowledg-e absolute, 
And found no end in wandering" mazes lost. 

This preposterous pursuit was, beyond doubt, injurious, 
both to my natural powers, and to the progress of my edu- 
cation. It would perhaps have been destructive, had it 
been continued ; but from this I was auspiciously with- 
drawn, partly indeed by an accidental introduction to an 
amiable family, chiefly however, by the genial influence 
of a style of poetry, so tender, and yet so manly, so na- 
tural and real, and yet so dignified, and harmonious as the 
sonnets, &c. of Mr. Bowles ! Well w^ere it for me, per- 
haps, had { never relapsed into the same mental disease ; 
if 1 had continued to pluck the flower and reap the har- 
vest from the cultivated surface, instead of delving in the 
imwholesome quicksilver mines of metaphysic depths. 
But if in after time I have sought a refuge from bodily 
pain and mismanaged sensibility in abstruse researches, 
which exercised the strength and subtlety of the under- 
standing without awakening the feelings of the heart ; 
still there was a long and blessed interval, during which 
my natural faculties were allowed to expand, and my ori- 
ginal tendencies to develope themselves ; my fancy, and 
the love of nature, and the sense of beauty in forms and 

The second advantage, which I owe to my early peru- 
sal, and admiration of these poems (to which let me add, 
though known to me at a somewhat later period, the 
Lewsdon Hill of Mr. Crow) bears more immediately on 
my present subject. Among those with whom I convers- 
ed, there were, of course, very many who had formed 
their taste, and their notions of poetry, from the writings 
of Mr. Pope and his followers : or, to speak more generally, 
in that school of French poetry, condensed and invigorated 
by English understanding, which had predominated from 
the last century. I was not blind to the merits of this 
school, yet, as from inexperience of the world, and conse- 
quent want of sympathy with the general subjects of these 
poems, Ihey gave me little pleasure, 1 doubtless under- 
valued the kind, and with the presumption of youth with- 
held from its masters the legitimate name of poets, I 
^aw that the excellence of this kind consisted in just and 


acute observations on men and manners in an artificial 
state ofsociety, as its matter and substance ; and in the lo- 
gic ot' wit, conveyed in smooth and strong epigrammatic 
couplets, as lis form Even when the suliject was addressed 
to the fancy, or the intellect, as in the Hape of the Lock, 
or the Essay on Man ; nay, when it was a consecutive 
narration, as in that astonishing product of matchless ta- 
Jent and ingenuity, Pope's translation of the Iliad ; still 
a point was looked for at the end of each second line, 
and the whole was as it were a sorites, or, if I may ex- 
change a logical for a grammatical metaphor, a conjunc- 
tion disjunctive of epigrams. Meantime the matter and 
diction seemed to me characterised not so much by poetic 
thoughts, as by thoughts translated into the language of 
poetry. On this last point, I had occasion to render my 
own thoughts gradually more and more plain to myself, 
by frequent amicable disputes concerning Darwin's Bo- 
tanic Garden, which, for some years, was greatly extol- 
led, not only by the reading public in general, but even 
by those whose genius and natural robustness of under- 
standing enabled them afterwards to act foremost in dis- 
sipating these '' painted mists" that occasionally rise 
from the marshes at the foot of Parnassus. During my 
first Cambridge vacation, I assisted a friend in a contri- 
bution for a literary society in Devonshire ; and in this I 
remember to have compared Darwin's vrork to the Rus- 
sian palace of ice, glittering, cold and transitory. In the 
same essay too, I assigned sundry reasons, chiefly drawn 
from a comparison of passages in the Latin poets with the 
original Greek, from whieh they were borrowed, for the 
preference of Collins's odes to those of Gray ; and of the 
simile in Shakspeare : 

*' How like a younker or a prodigal, 

The skarfed bark puts from her native bay 

Plugged and embraced by the strumpet wind! 

How like a prodigal doth she return, 

With over-weather'd ribs and ragged sails, 

Lean, rent, and beggarM by the strumpet wind'J*^ 

to the imitation in the bard ; 

•* Fair laughs the morn, and soft the zephyr blows 
While proudly riding o'er the azure realm 


In gallant trim the g-ilded vessel goes, 

YoLTH at the prow and pleasure at the helm, 

Regardless of the sweeping- whirlwind's sway, 

That, hush'd in grim repose, expects its evening prey." 

(Tn which, bj-the-by, the words '*realm" and *'s\vay'' 
are rhymes dearly purchased.) I preferred the original 
on the ground, that in the imitation it depended wholly 
in the compositor's putting, or not putting, a small capital, 
both in this and in many other passage.^ of the same poet, 
whether the words should be personifications or mere ab- 
stracts. I mention this because, in referring various lines 
in Gray to their original in Shakspeare and Milton ; and 
in the clear perception how completely all the propriety 
was lost in the transfer; I was, at that early period, led 
to a conjecture which, many years afterwards, was re- 
called to me from the same thought having been started 
in conversation, but far more ably, and developed more 
fully, by Mr. Wordsworth ; namely, that this style of 
poetry, which I have characterised above, as translations 
of prose thoughts into poetic language, had been kept up 
by, if it did not wholly arise from, the custom of writing 
Latin verses, and the great importance attached to these 
exercises in our public schools. Whatever might have 
been the case in the fifteenth centurv, when the use of 
the Latin tongue was so general among learned men that 
Erasmus is said to have forgotten his native language ; 
yet, in the present cay, it is not to be supposed that a 
youth can think in Latin, or that he can liave any other 
reliance on the force or fitness of his phrases but the au- 
thority of the author from whence he has adopted them. 
Consequently, he must first prepare his thoughts, and 
then pick out, from Virgil, Horace, Ovid, or perhaps 
more compendiously from his"^ Gradus, halves and quar- 
ters of lines, in which to embody them. 

* In the Nutricia of Politian there occurs this line : 

" Purii (oloritos interstrepjt unda lapillo.s." 

Casting my eye on a University prize-po^m, I mot this line : 
*' Lactea purpuroos interstrepit unda lapillos." 

Now look out in the Gradus for PurUSj and you find as the first syiio- 
nime, lacieus ; for coloratus, and the first synonime is purpureiis. I men- 
lion this by way of elucidating one of the most ordinary processes in the 
ferruminaiion of these centos. 


I never object to a certain degree of disputatiousness 
in a young rrian from the age of seventeen to that of four 
or fivc-and-twenty, provided I find him always arguing 
on one side of the question. The controversies occa- 
sioned by my unfeigned zeal for the honour of a favourite 
contemporary, then known to me only by his works, 
were of great advantage in the formation and establish- 
ment of my taste and critical opinions. In my defence 
of the lines running into each other, instead of closing at 
each couplet ; and of natural language, neither bookish 
nor vulgar, neither redolent of the lamp or of the kenntl, 
such as / will remember thee; in-tead of the same thought 
tricked up in the rag-fair finery of 

Thy image on her win^ 

Before my fa^jcy'^ eye shall imemohy bring", 

I had continually to adduce the metre and diction of the 
Greek poets from Homer to Theocritus inclusive ; and 
still more of our elder English poets from Chaucer to 
Milton. Nor was this all. But as it was my constant 
reply to authorities brought against me from later poets 
of great name, that no authority could avail in opposition 
to Truth, Nature, Logic, and the Laws of Universal 
Grammar ; actuated, too, by rny former passion for meta- 
physical investigations, I laboured at a solid foundation 
on which, permanently, to ground my opinions in the 
component faculties of the human mind itself, and their 
comparative dignity and importance. According to the 
faculty, or source, from which the pleasure given by any 
poem or passage was derived, I estimated the merit of 
such poem or passage. As the result of all my reading 
and meditation, I abstracted two critical aphorisms, deem- 
ing them to comprise the conditions and criteria of poetic 
style ; first, that not the poem which we have read, but 
that to which we return, with the greatest pleasure, pos- 
sesses the genuine power, and claims the name of essen- 
tial poetry. Second, that whatever lines can be translated 
into other words of the same language without diminu- 
tion of their significance, either in sense or association, 
or in any worthy feeling, are so far vicious in their dic- 
tion Be it, however, observed, that I excluded from the 
list of worthy feelings, the pleasure derived from mere 
novelty, in the reader, and the desire oi exciting won- 


derment at his powers in the author. Oftentimes since 
then, in perusing French tragedies, I have fancied two 
marks of admiration at the end of each line, as hiero- 
glyphics of the author's own admiration at his own cle- 
verness. Our genuine admiration of a great poet is a 
continuous under-current of feeling ; it is every where 
pre«-ent, but seldom any where as a separate excitement. 
I was wont boldly to affirm, that it would be scarcely more 
difficult lo push a stone out from the pyramids with the 
bare hand, than to alter a word, or the position of a word, 
in ^lilton or Shakspeare, (in their most important works 
at least,) without making the author say something else, 
or something worse than he does say. One great distinc- 
tion \ appeared to myself to see plainly, between evea 
the characteristic t^aults of our elder poets, and the false 
beauty of the moderns. In the former, from Dokne to 
Cow^LEY, we find the most fantastic out-of-the-way 
thoughts, but in the most pure and genuine mother Eng- 
lish ; in the latter, the most obvious thoughts in langu^ige 
the most fantastic and arbitrary. Our faulty elder poets 
sacrificed the passion, and passionate flow of poetry, to 
the subtleties of intellect, ami to the staits of wit; the 
moderns to the glare and glitter of a perpetual, yet bro- 
ken and heterogeneous imagery, or rather to an amphi- 
bious something, made up half of image, and halt of 
abstract* meaning. The one sacrificed the heart to 
tlie head ; the other both heart and head to point and 

The reader must make himself acquainted with the 
general style of composition that was at that time deem- 
ed poetry, in order to understand and account tor the 
effect produced on me by the Sonnets, the IMonody at 
MatlocK; and the Hope, of Mr. Bowles ; for it is pecu- 
liar to original genius to become less and less striking^ in 
pioportion to its success in improving the taste and judg- 
ment of its contemporaries. The poems of West, indeed, 
bad the merit of chaste and manly diction, but they were 
cold, and, if 1 may so express it, only dead-coloured ; 

* I remember a ludicrous instance in the poem of a young tradeSi 
man : 

*' No more will I endure love's pleasing pain, 
Or round my heart's leg tie his galling chain." 

Vol. I. 2 


while in the best of Warton's there is a stiffness, which 
too often gives them the appearance of imitations from 
the Greek. Whatever relation, therefore, of cause or 
impulse, Percy's collection of Ballads may bear to the 
most popular poems of the present day ; yet, in the more 
sustained and elevated style of the then living poets, 
Bowles and Cowper* were, to the best of my knowledge, 
the first who combined natural thoughts with natural dic- 
tion ; the first who reconciled the heart with the head. 

It is true, as I have before mentioned, that from diffi- 
dence in my own powers,! for a short time adopted a labo- 
rious and florid diction, which I myself deemed, if not ab- 
solutely vicious, yet of very inferior worth. Gradually, 
howerer, my practice conformed to my belter judgment ; 
and the compositions of my twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth 
year {ex, gr. the shorter blank verse poems, the lines 
which are now adopted in the introductory part of the 
Vision in the present collection in Mr. Southey's Joan of 
Arc, 2nd book, 1st edition, and the Tragedy of Remursf) 
are not more below my present ideal in respect of tlie 
general tissue of the style, than those of the latest date. 
Their faults were, at least, a remnant of the former 
leaven, and among the many who have done me the ho- 
nour of putting my poems in the same class with those of 
my betters, the one or two who have pretended to bring 
examples of affected simplicity from my volume, have 
been able to adduce but one instance, and that out of a 
copy of verses half ludicrous, half splenetic, which I in- 
tended, and had myself characterized, as sermoni propri- 

Every reform, however necessary, will by weak minds 
be carried to an excess, that itself will need reforming. 
The reader will excuse me for noticing, that 1 myself was 
the first to expose rrsu honesto the three sins of poetry, one 

* Cowncr's Task was published some time before the sonnets of Mi'. 
Bowles ; but I was not familiar witli it till many years afterwards. The 
vein of satire which runs through that excellent poem, together with the 
sombre hue of its rol-gious opinions, would probably, ai that time, huve 
prevented its laying any strong hold on V'ly atfections. The love of na- 
ture seems to have led Tb.omjison to a cheerful religion; and a gloomy 
religion to have led Cowper to a love of nature. The one would carry 
his fellow-men along with him into nature ; the other flips to nature from 
his fellow-men. In chastitv of diction, however, and the harmony of 
blank verse, Cowper leaves Thompson immeasurably below him ; yet still 
i feel tlie latter ;lu have been the bonipoett 


or the other of which w the most likely to beset a young 
writer. So long ago as the publication of the second 
number of the monthly magazine, under the name of Ne- 
HEMiAH HiGGEXBOTTOM, 1 Contributed three sonnets, the 
first of which had for its object to excite a good-natured 
laugh at the spirit of doleful egotism^ and at the recur- 
rence of favourite phrases, with the double defect of be- 
ing at once trite and licentious. The second, on low, 
creeping language and thoughts, under the pretence of 
simplicity. And the third, the phrases of which were 
borrowed entirely from my own poems, on the indis- 
criminate use of elaborate and swelling language and 
imagery. The reader will find them in the note* below, 

* Sonnet I. 

Pensive at eve, on the hard world I mused, 

And my poor heart was sad ; so at the Moon 

1 j^azed, and sighed, and sighed ; for ah, how SOOn 

Eve saddens into night ! mine eyes perused 

With tearful vacancy the dampy grass 

That wept and glitter'd in the paly ray : 

And I did pause me on my lonely way, 

And mused wie, on the wretched ones that pass 

O'er the bleak heath of gorrow. But alas t ' • 

Most of myself I thought I when it lefel, 

That the soothe spirit of the breezy wood 

Breath'd in mine ear: " AH this is very well. 

But much of ONE thing, i^ for no thing good.*^ 

Oh my poor heart's iitEXPLicABLR swell I 

Sonnet IL 

Oh I do love thee, meek Simplicity ! 

For of thy lays the lulling simpleness 

Cjoes to my heart, and soothes each small distress^ 

Distress tho' small, vet haply great to me ; 

'Tis true, on Lady Fortune's gentlest pad 

J amble on ; and yet I know not why 

So sad 1 am I but should a friend and I 

Frown, pout and pari, then I am very sad. 

And then with sonnets and with sympathy : 

My dreamy bosom's mvstic woes I pall ; 

IVow of my false friend plaining plaintively. 

Now raving at mankind in general ; 

But whether sad or fierce, 'tis simple all, 

All very simple, meek Simplicity I 

Sonnet IIL ' 

And this reft house is that, the which heS uil«, 
Lamented Jack ! and here his malt he pil'd, 
Cautious in vain ! these rats, that squeak so wild, 
bcjueak not unconscious of their father's guilt. 
Did he not see her gleaming thro' the glade ! 
Belike 'twas she, the maideaall forlorn. 


and will, I trust, regard tliera as reprinted for biogiaphicai 
pu rposes. and not for their poetic merits. So general at 
th at time and so decided was tiie opinion concerning ihe 
cbaraclerigtic vices of my style, that a celebrated physi- 
cian (now, alas! no more) speaking of me, in othftr re- 
spects, with his usual kindness, to a gentleman, who was 
about to meet me at a dinner party, could not, however, 
resist giving him a hint not to mention the '"House thai 
Jack builV in my presence for '' that 1 was as sore as a 
bile about that sonnet ;" he not knowing that I was, my- 
self, the author of it. 

What tho' she milk no cow mth crumpled horn, 
Yet, aye she haunts the dalp where erst ^he strayM : 
And aye, beside h©r stalks her amorous knight! 
Still on his thighs their wonted brogues are worn, 
And thro' those brogues, still tatter'd and betorn, 
His hindward charms gleam an unearthly white. 
Ah ! thus thro' broken clouds at night's high IVoon 
Peeps in fair fragments forth the full orb'd harvest moon I 

The following anecdote t> ill not be v,^hoIly out of place here, and maj', 
perhaps, amuse the reader. iJi -mateur performer in verse expressed 
10 a common friend, a strong desire to be introduced to kie, but hesitated 
in accepting my friend's immediate offer, on the score that " he was, he 
must acknowledge, the author of a confounded severe epigram on my 
ancient mariner j which had given me great pain." I assured my friend 
that if the epigram was a good one, it would only increase my desire to 
become acquainted with the author, and begg'd to hear it recited : when, 
to my no less surprise than amusement, it proved to be one which 1 had 
myself some time before written and inserted in the Morning Post. 

To the Author of the Ancient Mariner, 

Your poem must eternal be, 
Dear sir .' it cannot fail, 
For 'tis incomprehensible 
And without head or tail. 



Supposed Irritability of men of Genius — Brought to the 
test of Facts — Causes and Occasions of the charge — Its 

I have often thought, that it would be neither uninstruc- 
tive nor unamusing., to analyze and bring forward into 
distinct consciousness, that complex feeling, with which 
readers in general take part against the author- in favour 
of the critic ; and the readiness with which they apply to 
all poets the old sarcasm of Horace upon the scribblers 
of his time, *' Genus irritabile vatum." A debility and 
dimness of the imaginative power, and a consequent ne- 
cessity of reliance on. the immediate impressions of the 
senses, do, we well know, render the mind liable to su- 
perstition and fanaticism. Having a deficient portion of 
internal and proper warmth, minds of this class seek in 
the crowd circuni fana for a warmth in common, which 
they do not possess singly. Cold and phlegmatic in their 
own nature, like damp hay, they heat and inflame, by 
coacervation ; or, like bees, they become restless and ir- 
ritable through the increased temperature of collected 
multitudes. Hence the German word for fanaticism (such 
at least was iis original import) is derived from the 
swarming of bees, namely, Schwarmen, Schwiirmerey. 
The passion being in an inverse proportion to the insightj 
that the nQore vivid as this the less distinct, anger is the 
inevitable consequence. The absence of all foundation 
within their own minds for that which they yet believe 
both true and indispensable for their safety and happiness, 
cannot but produce an uneasy stat^ of feeling, an involuOf- 
tary sense of faar, from which nature has no means of res- 
cuing herself but by anger Experience informs us, that 
the lirst defence of weak minds is to recriminatCc 

" There's no Philosopher but sees, 
That rage and fear are one disease ; 
Tho' that may burn, and this may treeze,^ 
They're both alike the ague.'* 

Mad Ox, 


feut where the ideas are vivid, and there exists an endless 
power of combining and naodifying them, the feelings and 
affections blend more easily and intimately with these 
ideal creations, than with the objects of ihe senses ; the 
mind is affected by thoughts, rather than by things; and 
only then feels the requisite interest, even for the most im- 
portant events and accidents, when by means of medita- 
tion they have passed into thoughts. The sanity of the 
mind is between superstition with fanaticism on the one 
hand, and enthusiasm with indifference and a diseased 
slowness to action on the other. For the conceptions of 
the mind may be so vivid and adequate as to preclude 
that impulse to the realizing of them, which is strongest 
and most restless in those who possess more than mere 
talent, (or the faculty of appropriating and applying the 
knowledge of others,) yet still want something of the 
creative and self-sufficing power of cibsolute genius. For 
this reason, therefore, they are men of commanding ge- 
nius. While the former rest content between thought and 
reality, as it were in an intermundium, of which their own 
living spirit supplies the substance, and their imagination 
the ever varyingybrm; the latter must impress their pre- 
conceptions on the world without, in order to present 
them back to their own view with the satisfying degree 
of clearness, distinctness, and individuality These, in 
tranquil times, are formed to exhibit a perfect poem in 
palace, or temple, or landscape-garden • or a tale of ro- 
mance in canals that join sea with sea, or in walls of rock, 
which, shouldering back the billows, imitate the power, 
and supply the benevolence of nature to sheltered navies ; 
or in aqueducts, that, arching the wide vale from mountain 
to mountain, give a Palmyra to the desert. But, alas ! 
in times of tumult, they are the men destined to come 
forth as the shaping spirit of Ruin, to destroy the wis- 
dom of ages, in order to substitute the fancies of a day, 
and to change kings and kingdoms, as the wind shifts and 
shapes the clouds.'^ The records of biography seem to 

' " Of old things all are over okl, 
Of ^ood things none are good enough : — 
We'll show that we can help to frame 
A world of other stuft 


confirm this theory. The men of the greatest genius, as 
far as we can judge from their own works, or from the ac- 
counts of their contempornries, appear to have been of 
calm and tranquil temper in aM that related to themselves. 
In the inward assurarice of permanent fame, they seem 
to have been either indifferent or resigned with regard to 
immediate reputation. Through all the works of Chau- 
cer there reigns a cheerfulness, a manly hilarity, which 
makes it almost impossible to doubt a correspondent ha- 
bit of feeling in the author himself. Shakspeare's even- 
ness and sweetness of temper were almost proverbial in 
bis own age. That this did not arise from ignorance of 
his own comparative greatness, we have abundant proof 
in his sonnets, which could scarcely have been known 
to Mr. Pope,* when he asserted, that our great bard 
'• grew immortal in his own despite " Speaking of one 
whom he had celebrated, and contrasting the duration of 
his works with that of his personal existence, Shakspeare 
adds : 

• I too will havo 1113- kino;*, t'lat take 
From me the sign of lite and death ; 
Kingdoms shall shilt about like clouds, 
Obedient to my breath." 


* Mr. Pope was under the common error of his age, an error far from 
being sufficiently exploded even at the preisent day. It consists, (as I ex- 
plained at lar2:e, and proved in detail inmy public lectures.) in mistaking 
lor the essentials of tfie Greek stage, certain rules which the wise poets 
imposed upon themselves, in order to render all the remaining parts of 
the drama consisient with those that }\ad been forced upon tliein by cir- 
cumstances independent of their will ; out of which circumstances the 
drama itself arose. The circmnstances in the time of Shakspeare, which 
it was equally one of his jjo\ver to alter, were different, and such as, in my 
opinion, allowed a far wider sphere, and a deeper and more human in- 
terest. Critics are too apt to forget that rnks are but means to an end, 
consequently, where the ends are diftV rent, the rules must be likewise so. 
We must have rscertained what the end is before we can determine what 
the rules might :o he. Judging under this impression, I did not hesitate 
to declare my full conviction that tiie consummate judoinent of Shaks- 
peare, not only in the general construction, butinall'thede^ii'Z of his dra- 
mas, impressed me with greater wonder than even the might of his ge- 
nius, or the depth of his philosophy. The substance of these lectures I 
hope soon to publish ; and it is but a debt of I'ustice to mvself and my 
friends to notice^ that the first < ourse of lectures, whicji dirfered from the 
following courses only by occasionally varying the illustratioiis of the 
sam? thoughts, was addressed to very numerous, and, I need not add, re- 
spectablr^ audiences, at the royal institution, before Mr. Schlegel gave his 
lectures on the same subjects at Vienna, 


** Your name from hence immortal life shall have, 
Tho' I once gone to all the world must die ; 
The earth can } ield me but a common grave, 
When you entombed in men's eyes shall lie. 
Your monument shall be my gentle verse, 
Which eyes not yet created shall o'er-read ; 
And tongues to be your being shall rehearse, 
When all the breathers of this world are dead : 
You still shall live, such virtue hath my pen, 
Where breath most breathes, e'en in the mouth of men.'*^ 

Sonnet 8 1st. 

I have taken the first that occurred ; but Shakspeare's 
readiness to praise his rivals, ore pleno, and the confi- 
dence of his own equality with those whom he deem'd 
most worthy of his praise, are alike manifested in the 
S6.ih sonnet. 

*' Was it the proud full sail of his great verse^ 
i Bound for the praise of ail-too precious you, 

That did my ripe thoughts in my brain inhearse, 
Making their tomb the womb wherein they grew ? 
Was it his spirit, by spirits taught to write 
Above a mortal pitch that struck me dead r 
No, neitiier he, nor his compeers by night 
Giving him aid, my verse astonished. 
He, nor that affable familiar ghost, 
VVliich nightly gulls him with intelligence. 
As victors of my silence cannot boast; 
I was not sick of any fear from thence ! 
But when your countenance fiU'd up his line, 
Then UckM I matter, that enfeebled mine. 

In Spencer, indeed, we (race a mind constitutionally 
tender, delicate, and, in comparison with his three great 
compeers, [ had almost said, effeminate ; and this addi- 
tionally saddened by the unjust persecution of Burleigb,^ 
and the severe calamities which overwhelmed his latter 
days. These causes have diffused over all his composi- 
tions ** a melancholy grace,'' and have drawn forth occa-, 
sional strains, the more pathetic from their gentleness. 
But no vvbere do we find the least trace of irritability, 
and still less of quarrelsome or afifected contempt of his 

The same calmness, and even greater self possession, 
may ]^e affirmed of MiltOD, as far as his poems and poetic 


charac(er are concerned. He reserved his anger lor 
Ihe enemies of religion, freedom, and his country. My 
mind is not capable of forming a more august conception, 
than arises from the contemplation of this great man in 
his latter days : poor, sick, old, blind, slandered, perse- 

** Darkness before, and dang-er's voice behind," 

in an age in which he was as little understood by the 
party, for whom, as by that against whom, he had con- 
tended ; and among men before whom he strode so far as 
to cZccar/ himself by the distance ; yet still listening to 
the music of his own thoughts, or if additionally cheered, 
yet cheered only by the prophetic faith of two or three 
solitary individuals, he did nevertheless 

" Argue not 

Against Heaven's hand or will, nor bate a jot 
Of heart or hope ; but still bore up, and steer'd 
Right onward." 

From others only do we derive our knowledge that Mil- 
ton, in his latter day, had his scorners and detractors ; 
and even in his day of youth and hope, that he had ene- 
mies would have been unknown to us, had they not been 
likewise the enemies of his country. 

I am well aware, that in advanced stages of literature, 
when there exists many and excellent models, a high de- 
gree of talent, combined with taste and judgment, and 
employed in works of imagination, will acquire for a man 
the name of a great genius ; though even that analogon of 
genius, which, in certain states of society, may even 
render his writings more popular than the absolute reali- 
ty could have done, would be sought for in vain in the 
mind and temper of the author himself Yet even in in- 
stances of this kind, a close examination will often detect 
that the irritability, which has been attributed to the au- 
thor's genius as its cause, did really originate in un ill 
conformation of body, obtuse pain, or const! iUtionhi de- 
fect of pleasurable sensation. What is cl<arged (o the 
avtlior^ beloui^s to the man, who wotjld pivh^^biy have 
been still more impatient, but for the humanizing influ- 


cnces of the very pursuit, which yet bears the blame of his 

How then are we to explain the easy credence gene- 
rally given to this charge, if the charge itself be not, as 
we have endeavoured to show, supported by experience ? 
This seems to me of no very difficult solution. In what- 
ever country literature is widely diffused, there will be 
many who mistake an intense desire to possess the 
reputation of poetic genius, for the actual powers, 
and origiucil tendencies which constitute it. But men, 
whose dearest wishes are fixed on objects wholly out 
of their own power, l)ecome in all cases more or less 
impatient and prone to anger. Besides, though it may 
be paradoxical to assert, that a man can know one 
thing, and believe the opposite, yet assuredly, a vain per- 
son may have so habitually indulged the wish, and perse- 
vered in the attempt to appear what he is not, as to be- 
come himself one of his own proselytes. Still, as this 
counterfeit and artificial persuasion must differ, even in 
the person's own feelings, from a real sense of inward 
power, what can be more natural than that this difference 
should betray itself in suspicious and jealous irritability ? 
Even as the flowery sod, which covers a hollow, may be 
often detected by its shaking and trembling. 

But, alas I the multitude of books, and the general dif- 
fusion of literature, have produced other and more la- 
mentable effects in the world of letters,^ and such as are 
abundant to explain, though by no means to justify, the con- 
ipei^pt with which the best grounded complaints of injured 
genius are rejected as frivolous, or entertained as matter 
of merriment- in the days of Chaucer and Govver, our 
language might (wi'th due allowance for the imperfections 
of a simile) be compared to a wilderness of vocal reeds^ 
from which the favourites only of Fan or Apollo could con- 
struct even the rude Syrinx ; and from this the construc- 
tors alone could elicit strains of music. But now, partly 
by the labours of successive poets, and in part by the 
more artificial state of society and social intercourse, 
language, mechanized as it were into a barrel-organ, sup- 
plies at once both instrument and tune. Thus even the 
deaf may play, so as to delight the many. Sometimes^ 
(for it is with similies as it is with jests at a wine table, 
Qne is sure to suggest another,) 1 have attempted to illus- 


trate the present state of our language, in its relation to 
literature, h^ a press-room of larger and smaller stereo- 
type pieces, Hhich, in the present anglo-gallican fashion 
of unconnected, epigrammatic periods, it requires but an 
ordinary portion of ingenuity to vary indefinitely, and yet 
still produce something, which, if not sense, will be so 
like it as to do as well. Perhaps better'; for it spares 
the reader the trouble of thinking ; prevents vacancy, 
while it indulges indolence ; and secures the memory 
from all danger of an intellectual plethora. Hence, of all 
trades, literature at present demands the least talent or 
information ; and, of all modes of literature, the manu- 
facturing of poems. The difference, indeed, between these 
and the works of genius, is not less than between an egg 
and an egg-shell ; yet at a distance they both look alike. 
Now it is no less remarkable than true, wiih how little 
examination works of polite literature are commonly pe- 
rused, not only by the mass of readers, but by men of 
first rate ability, till some accident or chance* discussion 

* In the course of my lectures, I had occasion to point out the almost 
faultless position and choice of words, in Mr. Pope's on'^ma/ composi- 
tions, particularly in his satires and moral essays, for the purpose of 
comparing them Avith his translation of Homer,' which I do not stand 
alone in regarding- as the main source of our pseudo-poetic diction. And 
this, by-the-by, is an additional confirmation of a remark made, I believe, 
bv Sir Joshua Reynolds, that next to the man who formed and elevated 
tfie taste of the public, he that corrupted it is commonly the greatest 
genius. Among other passages, I analyzed, sentence by sentence, and 
ahnost word by word, tne popular lines, 

" As when the moon, resplendent lamp of light," Sfc, 

much in the same way as has been since done, in an excellent article on 
Chalmer's British Poets, in the Quarterly Review. The impression on the 
audience, in general, was sudden and evident: and a number of enlight- 
ened and highly educated individuals, who at different times afterwards 
addressed me on the subject, '-"^pressed their wonder, that truth so obvi- 
ous should not have struck them bifore ; but at the same time acknow- 
ledged (so much had they been accustomed, in reading poetry, to receive 
pleasure from the separate images and phrases successively, without ask- 
ing themselves whether the collective meaning was sense or nonsense,) 
th'dt they might in all probability have read the same passage again 
twenty times with undiininished admiration, and without once reilccting, 
that '^ajja (pOfiVTiv a|i(pi o-tXnvr.v (paivrr* of i/rffTria*' (i. e. the stars around, 
or near the full moon, shine pre-eminently bright) ^conveys a just and hap- 
py ima^e of a moonlight sky ; while it is difficult to determine whether 
m the lines, 

" Around her throne the vivid planets roliy 
A:id stars unnumber''d gild the ghwing pgU^^^' 


have roused their attention, and put them on their guard. 
And hence iii«iividuals helow mediocrity not less in n:;tu- 
ral power than in acquired knowledge ; nay, bunglers 
that hdd failed in ihi; lowest mechanic cratt^, and who-e 
presurjjpti()n is in due proportion to their want of sense 
and sensibility ; men, who hemg first scribblers from idle- 
ness and ignorance, next become libellers from envy and 
malevolence, have been able to drive a successful trade 
in ihe employment of booksellers, nay, have raised them- 
selves into temporary name and reputation with the pub- 
lic at large, by that most powerful of all adulation, the 
appeal to the bad and malignant passions of mankind.* 
But as it is the nature of scorn, envy, and all malignant 
propensities, to require a quick change of objects, such 
writers are sure, sooner or later, to awake from their dream 

the s-^nse or the diction 1-»e the more absurd. M}' answer was, that though 
i ha-i d -rived pecuhar advanta^^es from mv school discipline, and though my 
gen>iral theory of |3oetry v.-as the same then as now, ! nad yet exp-^rienced 
the same sensations myself, and fait almost as if I had been newly < ouch- 
ed, when by Mr. U'ordswoilh's conversation, I had been induced to re- 
examine with impartial stri< tness Graves celebrated elegy. I had long 
before detected the defects in "the Pard;" but "the Elegy" I bad con- 
sidered as proof ao-ainst all fair attacks ; and to this da\ I cannot read 
either M'ithout delisht, and a portion of enthusiasm. At all events, 
whatever pleasure I may have lost b;, the clearer perception of the faults " 
in certain passasres, has been more than repaid to me, by the additional 
delisrht with which I read the reniainder. 

* Especially " in this age of personality, this a^e of literary and po- 
htical GOSSIPING, when the meanest insects are worsnipped with a sort of 
Esryptian superstition, if only the brainless head be atoned for by the sting- 
of personal malignity in the tail ! When the most vapid satires have be- 
come the objects of" a keen public interest, purely from the number of 
contemporary characters named in the patchwork notes, (which possess, 
however, the comparative merit of l)eing more poetical than the text,) and 
because, to increase the stimulus, the author has sagaciously left his own 
name for whispers and conjectures I In an aae, when even sermons are 
published with a double appendix stuiled witli names — in a generation so 
iiansformed from the characteristic reserve of Britons, that from the 
ephemeral sheet of a London newspaper, to the everlasting Scotch Pro- 
fessorial Quarto, almost every publication exhibits or flatters the epidemic 
di.stemper: that the very * last year's rebuses' in the Ladies' Diary, are 
answered in a serious elegy ' on my father'*s death' wiih the name and 
habit:it of the elegiac CRdipus subscribed : and ' other ingeniovs solutions were 
lik(ni<ie given'' to the stiid rebvsc-- — not, as heretofore, by Crito, Philander, 
A. B Ys 6ic. bu* b^ fifty or sixty plain English surnames at full length, 
with thtir several places of abode! In an age, when a bashful Fhila- 
lefhes, or Philele^dheros is as rare on the title-pages, and smong the signa- 
tures o^ our magazines, as a real name used to be in the days of our shy 
and notice-shunning grandfathers! When (more exquisite than all) I see 
an Epic Poem (spirits of Maro and Ma-onidcs make ready to v.elcome 
your new compeer !) adveitised witli the special rec onimendiition, that the 
'said Epic Poem contains more thaii an hundred names of hving persons." 

FrIIND, ^(0. 10. 


of vanity to disappointment and neglect with embittered 
and envenomed feelings. Even during tiieir short-lived 
success, sensible, in spite of themselves, on what a shift- 
ing foundation it rested, they resent the mere refusal of 
praise, as a robbery, and at the justest censures kindle at 
once into violent and undisciplined abuse ; till the acute 
disease changing into chronical, the more deadly as the 
less violent, they become the fit instruments of literary 
detraction, and moral slander. They are then no longer 
to be questioned without exposing the complamant to ri- 
dicule, because, forsooth, they are anonymous critics, and 
authorized as '' synodical individuals"* to speak of them» 
selves plurali majestatico ! As if literature formed a cast, 
like that of the paras in Hindostan, who, however mal- 
treated, must not dare to deem themselves wronged ! As 
if that, which in all other cases adds a deeper die to slan- 
der, the circumstance of its being anonymous, here acted 
only to make the slanderer inviolable ! Thus, in part^ 
from the accidental tempers of individuals, (men of un- 
doubted talent, but not men of genius,) tempers rendered 
yet more irritable by their desire to appear men of ge- 
nius ; but still more eftectively by the excesses of the 
mere counterfeits both of talent and genius; the number 
too being so incomparably greater of those who are 
thought to be, tlian of those who really are^ men of real 
genius ; and in part from the natural, but not therefore 
the less partial and unjust distinction, made by the public 
itself between literary and all other property ; I believe 
the prejudice to have arisen, which considers an unusual 
irascibility concerning the reception of its products as 
characteristic of genius, it miiiht correct the moral feel- 
ings of a numerous class of readers, to suppose a review 
set on fo^'t, the object of which was to criticise all the 
chief works presented to the public by our ribbon-weavers^ 
calico-printers, cabinet-makers, and chlna-manuf;ictureib ; 
a review conducted in the same spirit, and which should 
take the same freedom with personal character, as our li- 
terary journals. They would scarcely. 1 think, deny 
their belief, not only that the "' g^nus irritabile" would 
be found to include many other species beside that of 
bards, but that the irritability of trade would soon re* 

* A plirase of Andrew Marv^rsv 

V^OL. L 3 


(luce tlie resentments of poets into mere shadow-fights 
(axio^axiaj) in the comparison. Or is wealth the only ra- 
tional object of human interest? Or even if this were ad- 
mitted, has the poet no property in his works ? Or is it a 
rare or culpable case, that he who serves at the altar of 
the muses, should be compelled to derive his maintenance 
from the altar, when, too, he has perhaps deliberately 
•abandoned the fairest prospects of rank and opulence in 
order to devote himself, an entire and undistracted man, 
to the instruction or refinement of his fellow-citizens ? 
Or should we pass by all higher objects and motives, all 
disinterested benevolence, and even that ambition of last- 
ing praise, which is at once the crutch and ornament, which 
at once supports and betrays the infirmity of human vir- 
tue ; is the character and property of the individual, who 
labours for our intellectual pleasures, less entitled to a 
share of our fellow feeling, than that of the wine-merchant 
or milliner? Sensibility, indeed^ both quick and deep, is 
not only a characteristic feature, but may be deemed a 
component part ot genius. But it is no less an essential 
mark of true genius, tliat its sensibility is excited by any 
ether cause more powerfully than by its own personal 
interests ; for this plain reason, that the man of genius 
lives most in the ideal world, in which the present is still 
constituted by the future or the past ; and because his 
feelings have been habitually associated with thoughts and 
images, to the number, clearness, and vivacity of which 
the sensation of self is always in an inverse proportion. 
And yet, should he perchance have occasion to repel some 
false charge, or to rectify some erroneous censure, nothing 
is more common, than for the many to mistake the gene- 
ral liveliness of iiis manner and language, -whatever is the 
subject, for the effects of peculiar irritation from its acci- 
dental relation tc himself.* 

* This i>one instance, among rnfiny, of deception, by the telling the half 
of a fact, and omitting the otlier half, when it is from their mutual coun- 
teraction and neutralization, that the 7vh(jle truth arises, as a tertiam ali- 
qjiid ditTerent from either. Thus in Drydc-n's famous line " Great wit" 
(\vhich here means genius) " to madness sure is near allied." i\ow, as 
far as the profound sensibilitv, which is doubtless one of the components 
of genius, were alone considered, single and unbalanced, it might be fair- 
Iv described as exposing the individual to a great.^r chance of mental de- 
raii2:emint ; h\\{ tnen a more than usual rapidity of association, a more 
than usual power of passing from thought to thought, and image toiinage, 
is a c omponent equally essential ; and in the due modification of each by 
?he other the qe.mus itself consists; so that it would be just a^ fair to 


For myself, if from my own feelings, or from the \es& 
suspicious test of the observations of others, 1 had been 
made aware of any literary testiness or jealousy, I trust, 
that I should have been, however, neither silly or arro* 
gant enough to have burthened the imperfection on genius. 
But an experience, (and 1 should not need documents in 
abundance to prove my words, if 1 added,) a tried expe- 
rience of twenty years has taught me thai the original sin 
of my character consists in a careless indifference to pub- 
lic opinion, and to the attacks of those who influence it ; 
that praise and admiration have become, yearly, less and 
less desirable, except as marks of sympathy ; nay, that it 
is difficult and distressing to me, to think with any inter-^ 
est even about the sale and profit of my works, important 
as, in my present circumstances, such considerations must 
needs be. Yet it never occurred to me to believe, or fan- 
cy, that the quantum of intellectual power bestowed on 
me by nature or education was in any way connected 
with this habit of my feelings ; or, that it needed any- 
other parents, or fosterers, than constitutional indolence^ 
aggravated into languor by ill-health ; the accumulating 
embarrassments of procrastination ; the mental cowardice, 
which is the inseparable companion of procrastination, 
and which makes us anxious to think and converse on 
any thing rather than on what concerns ourselves : in 
fine, all those close vexations, whether chargeable on my 
faults or my fortunes which leave me but little grief to 
spare for evils comparatively distant and alien. 

Indignation at literary wrongs, 1 leave to men borrt 
under happier stars. I cannot afford it. But so far from 
condemning those v/ho can, I deem it a writer's duty, 
and think it creditable to his heart, to feel and express a 
resentment proportioned to the grossness of the provoca- 
tion, and the importance of the object. There is no pro- 
fession on earth which requires an attention so early, so 
long, orsounintermitting, as that of poetry ; and, indeed, 
as that of literary composition in general, if it be such as 
at all satisfies the demands both of the taste and of sound 
logic. How difficult and delicate fi task even the mere 
mechanism of verse is, may be conjectured from the 

describe the earth as in imminent danger of exorbitating-, or of falling 
into the sun, according as the assertor of the absurdity coryfined his atten- 
tion either to tke projectile or to the attractive force exclusively. 


failure of those who have attempted poetry late in lite. 
Where, then, a man has, from his earliest youth, devoted 
his whole being to an object whicli, by the admission of 
all civilized nations in all ages is l)onourable as a pursuit, 
and glorious as an attainment ; what, of all that relates to 
himself and his family, if only we except his moral cha- 
I'acter, can have fairer claims to his protection, or more 
authorize acts of self-detence than the elaborate products 
of his intellect, and intellectual industry ? Prudence it- 
self would command us io shori' even if defect or diver- 
sion of natural sensibility had prevented us from feeling, 
a due interest and qualified anxiety for the offspring and 
representatives of our nobler being. I krfovv it, alas I by 
woful experience 1 I have laid too many eggs in the hot 
sands of this wilderness, the world, with ostrich careless- 
ness and ostrich oblivion. The greater part, indeed , have 
been trod under foot, and are forgotten ; but yet no small 
number have crept forth into life, some to furnish feathers 
for the caps of others, and still more to plume the shafts 
in the quivers of my enemies j of them that, unprorokcd, 
have lain in wait against my soul. 

" Sic vos, noa vobis mellificatis, apes 1" 

An instance in confirmation of the note, p. 27, occurs to me 
as I am correcting this sheet, with the Faithful Shepherdess 
open before me. Mr. Seward first traces Fletcher's lines : 

** More foul diseases than e'er yet the hot 
Sun bred through his burnings, while the dog* 
Pursues the raging lion, throwing the fog 
And deadly vapour from his angry breath. 
Filling the lower world with plague and death. "-•- 

To Spenser's Shepherd's Calendar, 

** The rampant lion hunts he fast 
With dogs of noisome breath, 
Whose baleful barking brings, in haste, 
Pyne, plagues, and dreary death I'' 

He then takes occasion to introduce Horr>er' simile of the sight 
of Achilles* shield to Priam compared with iJae Du^ Star, lite- 
rally thus— 


" For this indeed is most splendid, but it was made an evil 
sign, and brings many a consuming" disease to wretched mor- 
tals." Nothing can be more simple as a description, or more 
accurate as a simile ; which, says Mr. S., is thus Jinely trans- 
lated by Mr. Pope ; 

" Terrific Glory ! for his burning breath 

Taints the red air with fevers, plagues, and death P* 

Now here (not to mention the tremendous bombast) the Do^ 
StaVy so called, is turned into a real Dog, a very odd Dog, 
a fire, lever, plague, and death-breathing, rec?-air-tainting 
Dog : and the whole visual likeness is lost, while the likeness 
in the effects is rendered absurd by the exaggeration In Spen- 
ser and Fletcher the thought is justifiable ; for the images are 
at least consistent, and it was the intention of the writers to 
mark the seasons by this allegory of visualized Fun$^ 




Tlie author's ohligations to critics, and the probable occa' 
sion — Principles of modern criticism — Air, Southey*s 
works and character. 

To anonymous critics in reviews, magazines, and 
news journals of various name and rank, and to satirists, 
with or without a name, in verse or prose, or in verse 
text aided by prose comment, I do seriously believe and 
profess, that I owe full two thirds of whatever reputation 
and publicity I happen to possess For when the name 
of an individual has occurred so frequently, in so many 
works, for so great a length of time, the readers of these 
works, (which with a shelf or two of Beauties, Elegant 
Extracts and Anas, form nine tenths of the reading 
public)* cannot but be familiar with the name, without 
distinctly remembering whether it was introduced for an 
eulogy or for censure. And this becomes the more like- 
ly, if (as 1 believe) the habit of perusing periodical 

* For as to the devotees of the circulation libmries, I dare not com- 
pliment their pass time, or rather kill time, with the name of readipg. Call 
It rather a sort oi beggarly da} -dreaming, during w^iich the mind of the 
dreamer furnishes lor itself nothing but laziness and a little mawkish sen- 
sibility ; while the whole materiel and imagerv* of the doze is supplied ab 
rxtra by a sort of mental camera obscura manufactured at the printing of- 
fice, which pro tempore lixes, reflects, and transmits the moving phantasms 
ufone man's delirium, so as to people the barrenness of an hundred other 
brains afflicted v, 'th the same trance or suspension of all common sense 
and all definite purpose. We should, therefore, transfer this species of 
amusement, (if indeed those can be said to retire a musts, who were never 
in their <^ompany, or reJ-^xation be attributable to those whose bows are 
ne^'er bent,) from the genius, reading, to that comprehensive class char-^ 
actenzedby the power of reconciling the contrary ) et co-existing propen- 
sities of human nature-, namely, indulgence of sloth and hatred or vacan- 
cy. In addition to novels an^ tales of chivalry in prose or rh} me, (by 
rfhich last I mean neither rhythm nor metre,) tliis genus comprises as its 
.species, gaming, swinging, or swaying on a chair or gate : spitting over 
abridge; smokine ; snuft'-trking ; "tete-a-tete quarrels after dinner be- 
tween husband and v^'ife ; conning, word by word, all the advertisements^ 
of the daily advertiser in a public house on a rainy day, &c. &c. &c. 


works may be properly added to Averrhoe's* catalogue 
of A.i\tj-MnEx\!o.vics, or weakeners of the memory. But 
where this has not been the case, yeA the reader will be 
apt to suspect, that there must be something more than 
usually strong and extensive in a reputation, that could 
either require or stand so merciless and long-continued a 
cannonading Without any feeling of anger, therefore, 
(for which, indeed, on my own account, 1 have no pre- 
text,) 1 may yet be allowed to express some degree of 
surprise, that after having run the critical gauntlet tor a 
certain class of faults which \ had, nothing having come 
before the judgment seat in the interim, I should, year 
after year, quarter after quarter, month after month, (not 
to mention sundry petty periodicals of still quicker revo- 
lution, *' or weekly or diurnal,") have been for at least 
seventeen years consecutively dragged forth by them inta 
the foremost ranks of the proscribed, and forced to abide 
the brunt of abuse, for faults directly opposite, and which 
I certainly had not. How shall I explain this ? 

Whatever may have been the case with others, T cer- 
tainly cannot attribute this persecution to personal dis- 
like, or to envy, or to feelings of vindictive animosity. 
Not to the former ; for, with the exception ot a very few 
who are my intimate friends, and were so before they 
were known as authors, I have had little other acquaint- 
ance with literary characters than what may be implied 
in an accidental introduction, or casual meeting in a loixt 
company. And, as tar as words and looks can be trust- 
ed, 1 must believe that, even in these instances, I had 
excited no unfriendly disposition. t Neither by letter, 

* Ex. gr. Perliculos e capillis cxcerptos in arcnam jacerc incontusos ; 
eatin<^ of unripe fruit ; gazing- on the clouds, and (in g-enere) on moveal)le 
things suspended in the air ; riding among a multitude of camels ; tre- 
qucnt laughter ; listening to a series of jests and humourous anecdotes, 
as vvh^n (so to modernise the learned Saracen's meaning) one man's droll 
storv of an Irishman, inevitably occasions another's droll story ofaJ5cotch- 
man, which, again, by the same sort of conjunction disjunctive, leads to 
some etourderie of a VVelclirnan, and that again to some sly hit of a 
Yorkshireman ; the habit of reading tomb-stones in church-yards. Sic. 
By-the-by, this catalogue, strange as it may appear, is not insusceptible 
of a sound pcychological commentary. 

t Some years ago a gentleman, the chief vrriter and conductor of a ce- 
lebrated review, distinguished by its hostility to Mr. Southey, spent a 
day or two at Keswick. That ho was, without diminution on this account, 
treated with every hospitable attention by Mr. ^^outhey and myself, t 
trust 1 need not say. I^ut one thing I may venture to notice, that at no 
period of my life do I remember to have received so many, and such high 
coloured, comj^liiueiiti in. 50 short a space^of time. He was likewise circmur 


er in conversation, Lave I ever had dispute or controver' 
sy be^'ond the common social interchange of opinions. 
Nay, where 1 had reason to suppose my convictions fun- 
damentally « different, it has been my habit, and 1 may 
add, the impulse of my nature, to assign the grounds of 
my belief, rather than the belief itself; and not to express 
dissent, tilJ 1 could establish some points of complete 

stantially informed by what series of accidents it h^d happened, that Mr. 
Word; worth, Mr. Sou they, and I, had become neig-hbours ; and how ut- 
terly unfounded was the supposition, that we considered ourselves, as be- 
lonicing to any common school, but that of good sense, confirmed by the 
long-established models of the best times of Greece, Rome, Italy, and 
England, and still more groundless the notion, that Mr. Southey, (for, as 
to myself, 1 have published so little, and tliat little of so little importance, 
as to make it almost ludicrous to mention my name at all,) could have beea 
concerned in the formation of a poetic sect with Mr. Wordsworth, when 
so many of his works had been published, not only previously to any ac- 
quaintance between them, but before Mr. VVordsworth himself had writ- 
ten any thing but in a diction ornate, and uniformly sustained; when, too, 
the slightest examination will make it evident, that between those and 
the after writings of Mr. !:>outhey, there exists no other difference than 
that of a progressive degree of excellence from progressive develop- 
ment of power, and prop-essive facility from habit and increase of ex- 
perience. Yet among the first articles which this man wrote after hfs 
return from Keswick, we were characterized as *' the School of whining 
and hypochondriacal poets that haunt the Lakes." In repl}^ to a let- 
ter from the same gentleman, in which he had asked me, whether I 
was in earnest in preferring the style of Hooker to that of Dr. John- 
son, and Jeremy Taylor to Burke, I stated, somewhat at large, the 
comparitive excellences and defects which characterised our best prose 
writers, from the reformation to the first iialf of Gharles IL ; and that of 
those who had flourished during the present reign, and the preceding one. 
About twelve months afterwards a review appeared on the same subject, 
in the concluding paragraph of which the reviewer asserts, that his chief 
motive for entering into tlie discussion was to.separate a rational and" 
qualified admiration of our elder writers, from the indiscriminate enthusi- 
asm of a recent school, who praised what thej' did not understand, and 
caricatured what they were unable to imitate. And, that no doubt might 
be left concerning the persons alluded to, the writer annexes the names 
of Miss Bailie, W. Solthev, Wordsworth, and Coleridge. For hat 
which follows, (have only ear-say evidence, but yet such as demands my 
belief; viz. that on being questioned concerninj^ this apparently wanton 
attack, more especially with reference to Miss Baihe, the writer had 
stated as his motives, that this lady, when at Edinburgh, had declined a 
proposal of introdu- ing him to her ; that Mr. Southey had written against 
liim; andiMr. Wordsworth liad talked contemptuously of him; but that 
as to Coleridge^ he had noticed him merely because the names of J^outhey 
and Wordsworth and Cukridge always went together. But if it were 
worth while to mix together, as ingredients, half the anec dotes which I 
either myself know to be true, or which J have i*ecoived from men inca- 
pable of intentional fa'seiiood, concerning the characters, qualifications^ 
and motives of our anonymous critics, whose decisions are oracles for our 
reading publi •, [ might safely borrow th€ words of the apocryphal Da-. 
n'fe! : " Givf mtleaie^ O Sovkreign Pibiic, and J shali slay tins dragovi 
nithoui sword or ,sto"''* For the compound would I*" as the '' /Htrh, and 
/af. cn'i hnir, rvhuh Danitl took, and did seethe them together^ and made 
lumps ihfi^ efy and pnf into the drngon's mouthy and so the diagon burst i^ 
mndsTi and DanUl saidi lo, toesb. Afi& the Gods y£ woiiaiujR.'^ 


sympathy, some grounds common to both sides, from 
nhich to commence its explanation 

Still less can i place these attacks to the charge of 
envy. The (ew pages which 1 have published, are of 
too distant a date ; and the extent of their sale a proof too 
conclusive against their having been popular at any time, 
to render probable, 1 had almost said possible, the ex- 
citement of envy on their account ; and the man who 
should envy me on any other ^ verily he must be envy- 

Lastly ; with as little semblance of reason could I sus- 
pect any animosity towards me from vindictive feelings 
as the cause. I have before said, that my acquaintance 
with literary men has been limited and distant; and that 
I have had neither dispute nor controversy. From my 
first entrance into life, I have, with few and short inter- 
vals, lived either abroad or in retirement My different 
eisays on subjects of national interest, published at dif- 
ferent times, first in the Mornings Post and then in the 
Courier, with my courses of lectures on the principles of 
criticism as applied to Shakspeare and Milton, constitute 
my whole publicity ; the only occasions on which 1 could 
offend any member of the republic of letters. With one 
solitary exception, in which my words were first mis-stated, 
and then wantonly applied to an individual, I could ne- 
ver learn that 1 had excited the displeasure of any among 
my literary contemporaries. Having announced my in- 
tention to give a course of lectures on the characteristic 
merits and defects of the English poetry in is different 
eras ; first, from Chaucer to Milton ; second, from Dry den 
inclusive to Thompson ; and third, from Cowper to the 
present day ; I changed my plan, and confined my disqui- 
sition to the two former eras, that I might furnish no pos- 
sible pretext for the unthinking to misconstrue, or the ma- 
lignant to misapply, ray words, and having stampt thefr 
own meaning on them, to pass them as current coin in 
the marts of garrulity or detraction. 

Praises of the unworthy are felt by ardent minds as 
robberies of the df-seiving ; and it is too irue, and too fre- 
qu<-nt, that Bacon, Harrington, Machiaval awd Spmosa, 
are not read> becausi^ Hume, i.ondillac, and Voltaire 
are But in p^()^liscl^ous company, no prudent laan will 
oppugn the menU uf a contemporary in Uis own supposed 


department ; contenting himself with praising in his turn 
those whom he deems excellent. i[ I should ever deem 
it my duty at all to oppose the pretensions of individuals, 
I would oppose them in books which could be weighed 
and answered, in which 1 could evolve the whole of my 
reasons and feelings, Vvilh their requisite limits and mo- 
difications ; not in irrecoverable conversation, where, 
however strong the reasons might be, the feelings that 
prompted them would assuredly be attributed by some 
one or other to envy and discontent. Besides, I well 
know, and 1 trust, have acted on that knowledge, that it 
must be the ignorant and injudicious w^ho extol the un- 
worthy ; and the eulogies of critics without taste or judg- 
ment are the natural reward of authors without feeling 
or genius. '' Sint unicuique sua premia." 

How, then, dismissing, as I do, these three causes, am 
I to account for attacks, the long continuance and invete- 
racy of which it would require all three to explain. The 
solution may seem to have been given, or at least suggest- 
ed, in a note to a preceding page. / rc^as in habits of 
intimacy with Mr, Wordsworth and Mr» Southey ! This, 
however, transfers, rather than removes, the difficulty. 
Be it, that by an unconscionable extension of the old 
adage, *' noscitur a socio," my literary friends are never 
under the water- fall of criticism but 1 must be wet 
through with the spray ; yet, how came the torrent to de- 
scend upon them ? 

First, then, with regard to Mr. Southey. I well re- 
member tl>e general reception of his earlier publications, 
viz. the poems published with Mr. Lovell, under the 
names of Moschus and Bion ; the two volumes of poems 
under his own name, and the Joan of Arc. The censures 
of the critics by profession are extant, and may be easily 
referred to: — careless lines, inequality in the merit of 
the different poems, and, (in the lighter works,) a predi- 
lection for the strange and whimsical ; in short, such 
faults as might have been anticipated in a young and ra- 
pid writer, were indeed sufficiently enforced. Nor was 
there, at that time, wanting a party spirit to aggravate 
the defects of a poet, who, with all the courage of un- 
corrupted youth, had avowed his zeal for a cause which 
he deemed that of liberty, and his abhorrence of oppres- 
sion, by whatever name consecrated. But it was as littfe 


objected bj others, as dreamt of by the poet himself, 
that he preferred careless and prosaic lines on rule and 
of forethought, or, Indeed, that he pretended to any other 
art or theory of poetic diction beside that which we may 
all learn from Horace, Quintilian, the admirable dialogue 
de Causis Corruptoe Eloquentife, or Strada's Prolusions ; 
if, indeed, natural good sense, and the early study of the 
best models in his own language, had not infused the 
same maxims more securely, and, if I may venture the 
expression, more vitally. All that could have been fairly 
deduced, was, that in his taste and estiuiation of writers, 
Mr> Southey agreed far more with VVarton than with 
Johnson. Nor do I mean to deny that, at all times, Mr. 
Southey was of the same- mind with Sii* Philip Sydney, 
in preferring an excellent ballad in the humblest style of 
poetry, to twenty indifferent poems that strutted in the 
highest. And by what have his works, published since 
then, been characterized, each more strikingly than the 
preceding, but by greater splendour, a deeper pathos, 
profounder reflections, and a more sustained dignity of 
language and of metre ? Distant may the period be, but 
whenever the time shall come when all his works shall 
be collected by some editor worthy to be his biographer, 
I trust, that an excerpta of all the passages in which his 
writings^ name, and character, have been attacked, froi-- the 
pamphlets and periodical works of the last twenty years, 
may be an accompaniment. Yet that it would prove medi- 
cinal in after times f dare not hope ; for as long as there are 
readers to be delighted with calumny, there will be found 
reviewers to calumniate j and such readers will become, ia 
all probability, more numerous in proportion as a still 
greater diffusion of literature shall produce an increase 
of sciolists, and sciolism brings with it petulance and 
presumption. In times ol old, books were as religious" 
oracles; as literature advanced, they next became vene- 
rable preceptors ; they then descended to the rank of 
instructive friends; and, as their numbers increased, they 
sunk still lower, to that of entertaining companions ; 
and, at present, they seem degraded into culprits to hold 
up their hands at the bar of every self-elected, yet not 
the less peremptory, judge, who chooses to write from hu- 
mour or interest, from enmity or arrogance, and to abide 


the decision, (in the words of Jeremy Taylor,) *^ofhiru 
that rends in malice, or him that reads after dinner." 

The same gradual retrograde movement may be traced 
in the relation which the authors themselves have assumed 
toward their readers From the lofty address of Bacon : 
*' these are the meditations of Francis of Verulam, which, 
that posterity should be possessed of, he deemed their 
interest ;" or from dedication to monarch or pontiff, in 
which t|ie honour given was asserted in equipoise to the 
patronage acknowledged from Pindar's 

'frr' aKKoi- 

ndTTTaivt TTopcriov; 
* ETti cri Tf tStov 

T\lS x?ovov vanTv, ipii 

OynKhv, ff^oJpavTov ccf I'av ko^' EA(» 
-Aavos iovra Tta^iU' 

Olymp. Od. I. 

Poets and Philosophers, rendered diffident by their very 
number, addressed themselves to " /earnet^ readers ;" then 
aimed to conciliate the graces of " the candid reader ;" 
till the critic, still rising as the author sunk, the amateurs of 
literature, collectively, were erected into a municipality 
of judges, and addressed as the town ! And now, final- 
ly, all men hems: supposed able to read, and all readers 
able to judge, the multitudinous public, shaped into per- 
sonal unity by the magic of abstraction, sits nominal des- 
pot on the throne of criticism. But, alas ! as in other 
despotisms, it but echoes the decisions of its invisible 
ministers, whose intellectual claims to the guardianship 
of the muses seem, for the greater part, analogous to the 
physical qualifications which adapt their oriental brethren 
for the superintendance of the harem Thus it is said 
that St. Nepomuc was installed the guardian of bridges, 
because he had fallen over one, and sunk out of sight ; 
thus, too, St. Cecilia is said to have been first propitiated 
by musicians, because, having failed in her own attempts, 
she had taken a dislike to the art, and all its success- 
ful professors. But 1 shall probably have occasion, 
hereafter, to deliver my convictions more at large con- 


^earning this state of things, and its influences on tastCj 
genius, and morality. 

In the '' Thalaba" the '' Madoc,'' and still more eri- 
dently in the unique'^ ** Cid,'' the *' Kehama," and as 
last, so best, the '* Don Roderick," Southey has given 
abundant proof, '* se cogitasse quam sit magnum dare 
aliquid in manus hominum : nee persuadere sibi posse, 
non saepe tractandum quod placere et semper et omnibus 
cupiat." Plin. Ep. Lib. 7. Ep. 17. But, on the other 
hand, I guess, that Mr Southey was quite unable to com- 
prehend wherein could consist the crime or mischief of 
printing half a dozen or more playful poems ; or, to speak 
more generally, compositions which would be enjoyed 
or passed over, according as the taste and humour of the 
reader might chance to be ; provided they contained no- 
thing immoral. Jn the present age '' periturae parcere 
chartae" is emphatically an unreasonable demand. The 
merest trifle he ever sent abroad had tenfold better 
claims to its ink and paper, than all the silly criticisms 
which prove no more than that the critic was not one of 
those for whom the trifle was writien, and than all the 
grave exhortations to a greater reverence for the public. 
As if the passive page of a book, by having an epigram 
or doggerel tale impressed on it, instantly assumed at 
once loco-motive power and a sort of ubiquity, so as to 
flutter and buz in the ear of the public to the sore annoy- 
ance of the said mysterious personage. But what gives 
an additional and more ludicrous absurdity to these la- 
mentations is the curious fact, that if in a volume of poetry 
the critic should find poem or passage which he deems 
more especially worthless, he is sure to select and reprint 
it in the review ; by which, on his own grounds, he 
wastes as much more paper than the author as the copies 
of a fashionable review are more numerous than those of 
the original book ; in some, and those the most prominent 
instances, as ten thousand to five hundred. I know no- 

* I have ventured to call it ** unique," not only because I knorr no 
work of the kind in our language (if we except a few'^rs of the old 
translation of Froissart) none which, uniting- the charms of romance and 
histor}-, kef-ps the imagination so constantly on the wing, and yet leaves 
so much for after reflection ; but likewise, and chiefly, because it is a com- 
pilation which, in the various excellencies of translation, selection , and 
arrangement, required, and proves greater genius in the compiler, as liv- 
ing in the present state of sociefj> than in the original composers. 

Vol. L 4 


thing that surpasses the vileness of deciding on the me- 
rits of a poet or painter (not by characteristic defects ; 
for where there is genius, these always point to his char- 
acteristic beauties ; but) by accidental failures or faulty 
passages ; except the impudence of defending it, as the 
proper duty, and most instructive part, of criticism. 
Omit, or pass slightly over, the expression, grace, and 
grouping of Raphael'syzo-wres ; but ridicule in detail the 
knitting-needles and broom-twigs, that are to represent 
trees in his back grounds ; and never let him hear the last 
of his galli-pots ! Admit, that the Allegro and Penseroso 
of Milton are not without merit ; but repay yourself for 
this concession, by reprinting at length the two poems on 
the University Carrier ! As a fair specimen of his sonnets, 
quote '' a book was writ of late called Tetrachordon ;''^ 
and as characteristic of his rhythm and metre cite his li- 
teral translation of the first and second psalm ! in order 
to justify yourself, you need only assert, that had you 
dwelt chiefly on the beauties and excellencies of the poet, 
the admiration of these might seduce the attention of fu- 
ture writers from the objects of their love and wonder, to 
an imitation of the few poems and passages in which the 
poet was most unlike himself. 

But till reviews are conducted on far other principles, 
and with far other motives ; till in the place of arbitrary 
dictation and petulant sneers, the reviewers support their 
decisions by reference to fixed canons of criticism, pre- 
viously established and deduced from the nature of man, 
reflecting minds w^ill pronounce it arrogance in them thus 
to announce themselves to men of letters, as the guides 
of their taste and judgment. To the purchaser and mere 
reader, it is, at all events, an injustice. He who tells me 
that there are defects in a new work, tells me nothing 
which I should not have taken for granted without his in- 
formation. But he who points out and elucidates the 
beauties of an original work, does indeed give me inte- 
resting information, si^ch as experience would not have 
authorized me in anticipating. And as to compositions 
which the authors themselves announce with '' Haec ipsi 
novimus esse nihil," why should we judi^e by a different 
rule two printed works, only because the one author w^as 
alive, and the ovher in his grave ? What literary man has 
not regretted the prudery of Spratt in refusing to let his 


Triend Cowley appear in bis slippers and dressing gown ? 
I am not perhaps the only one who has derived an inno- 
cent amusement from the riddles, conundrums, tri-syllable 
lints, &c. &c. of Swift and his conespondents, in hours 
of languor, when, to have read his more finished works 
would have been useless to myself, and, in some sort, ail 
act of injustice to the author. But I am at a loss to con- 
ceive by what perversity of judgment these relaxations 
of his genius could be employed to diminish his fame as 
the writer of '' Gulliver's travels," and the '* Tale of a 
Tub." Had Mr Southey written twice as many poenvs 
of inferior merit, or partial interest, as have enlivened the 
journals of the day, they would have added to his honour 
with good and wise men, not merely, or prmcipally, as 
proving the versatility of liis talents, but as evidences of 
the purity of that mind which, even in its levities, never 
wrote a line which it need regret on any moral account. 

I have in imagination transferred to the future biogra- 
pher the duty of contrasting Soulhey's fixed and well- 
earned fame, with the abuse and indefatigable hostility 
of his anonymous critics from hi? early youth to his ri* 
pest manhood. But I cannot think so ill of human nature 
as not to believe, that these critics have already taken 
shame to themselves, whether they consider the object 
of their abuse in his moral or his literary character. For 
reflect but on the variety and extent of his acquirements ! 
He stands second to no man. either as an historian or as a 
bibliographer; and when 1 regard him as a popular es- 
sayist, (for the articles of his compositions in the reviews 
are for the greater part essays on subjects of deep or cu- 
rious interest rather than criticisms on particular works,*) 
I look in vain for any writer, who has conveyed so much 
information, from so many and such recondite sources, 
with so many just and original reflections, in a style so 
lively and poignant, yet bO uniformly classical and per- 
spicuous ; no one, in short, who has combined so much wis- 
dom with so much wit; so much truth and knowledge 
with so much life and fancy. His prose is always iniel- 
ligibie and always entertaining, 'n poetry he has at- 
tempted almost every species of composition known be- 

* See the articles on mcth »dism, in the Quarterly Review: the smaH 
volume of the New System of Education, &c. 


/ore, and he has added new ones ; and if we except the 
.highe5:t lyric, (in which how lew, how very few even of 
the greatest minds have been fortunate,) he has attempted 
every species successfully : from the political song of the 
day, thrown off in the playful overflow of honest joy and 
patriotic exultation, to the wild ballad ;* from epistolary 
tase and graceful narrative, to austere and impetuous 
moral declamation ; from the pastoral claims and wild 
streaming lights of the ^' Thalaba,*' in which sentiment 
lind imagery have given permanence even to the excite- 
ment of curiosity ; and from the full blaze of the " Ke- 
hama," (a gallery of finished pictures in one splendid 
i'ancy piece, in which, notwithstanding, the moral gran- 
deur rises gradually above the brilliance of the colouring 
and the boldness and novelty of the machinery,) to the 
more sober beauties of the *' Madoc ;" and, lastly, from 
ihe Madoc to his *' Roderic," in which, retaining all his 
former excellencies of a poet eminently inventive and 
picturesque, he has surpassed himself in language and 
metre, in the construction of the whole, and in the splen- 
dour of particular passages. 

Here, then, shall I conclude ? No ! The characters of 
the deceased, like the encomia on tombstones, as they 
are described with religious tenderness, so are they 
read, with allowing sympathy, indeed, but yet with ra- 
tional deduction. There are men who deserve a higher 
record ; men with whose characters it is the interest of 
their contemporaries, no less than that of posterity, to be 
made acquainted ; while it i? yet possible for impartial 
censure, and even for quick-sighted envy, to cross exa- 
mine fl:e tale without offence to the courtesies of humani- 
ty ; and while the eulogist, detected in exaggeration or 
falsehood, must pay the full penalty of his baseness in the 
contempt which brands the convicted flatterer. Publicly 
has Mr. Soulhey been reviled by nien, who (I would fain 
hope for the honour of human nature) hurled fire brands 
against a fissure of their own imagination ; publicly have 
his talents been depreciated, his principles denounced ; 
as publicly do I, therefore^ who have known him inti- 
mately, deem it my duty to leave recorded, that it is 

* See the incomparable *' Return to Moscow," and the *' Old Woman 
♦f Berkeley." 


Southey's almost unexampled felicity to possess the best 
gifts of talent and genius free from all their characteristic 
defects. To those who remember the state of our pub- 
lie schools and universities some twenty years past, it 
will appear no ordinary praise in any man to have pass- 
ed from innocence into virtue not only free from all vi- 
cious habit, but unstained by one act of intemperance, 
or the degradations akin to intemperance. That scheme 
of head, heart, and habitual demeanour, which, in his 
early manhood and first controversial writings, Milton, 
claiming the privilege of self-defence, asserts of himself, 
and challenges his calumniators to disprove ; this will his 
school-mates, his fellow collegians, and his maturer 
friends, with a confidence proportioned to the intimacy 
of their knowledge, bear witness to, as again realized in 
the life of Robert Southey. But still more striking to 
those who, by biography, or by their own experience, 
are familiar with the general habits of industry and per- 
severance in his pursuits ; the worthiness and dignity of 
those pursuits ; his generous submission to tasks of transi- 
tory interest, or such as his genius alone could make 
otherwise ; and that having thus more than satisfied the 
claims of affection or prudence, he should yet have made 
for himself time and power to achieve more, and in more 
various departments, than almost any other writer has 
done, though employed wholly on subjects of his own 
choice and ambition But as Southey possesses, and is 
not possessed by, his genius, even so is he the master 
even of his virtues. The regular and methodical tenor 
of his daily labours, which would be deen'.ed rare in the 
most mechanical pursuits, and might be e/ivied by the 
mere man of business, loses all semblance of formality in 
the dignified simplicity of his manners, in the spring and 
healthful cheert^ulness of his spirits. Always employed, 
his friends find him always at leisure. No l*^ss punctual 
in trifles, than steadfast in the performance of highest 
duties, he inflicts none of those small pains and dfscom- 
forts which irregular men scatter about them, and which^ 
in the aggregate, so often become formidable obstacles 
both to happiness and utility ; while, on the contrary, he 
bestows all the pleasures, and inspires all th^t ease of 
mind on those around him, or connected with him which 
perfect consistency, and (if such a word might be framed) 


absolute reUalUity, equally in small as in great concern«,, 
cannot but inspire aijd bestow : when this, too, is solten- 
ed without being weakened by kindness and gentleness. 
I know few men who so well deserve the character which 
an ancient attributes to Marcus Cato, namely, that he was 
likest virtue, in as much as he seemed to act aright, not 
in obedience to an> law or outward motive, but by the 
necessity of a happy nature, which couM not act other- 
wise. As son, brother, husband, father, master, friend, 
he moves with firm, yet Ii£;ht steps, alike unostentatious, 
and alike exemplary. As a writer, he has uniformly 
made his talents subserrient to the best interests of 
humanity, of public virtue, and domestic piety ; his 
cause has ever been the cause of pure religion and of li- 
berty, of national independence, and of national illumi- 
nation. When future critics shall weigh out his guerdon 
of praise and censure, it will be Southey the poet only, 
that will supply them with the scanty materials for the 
latter. They will likewise not fail to record, that as no 
man was ever a m.ore constant friend, never had poet 
more friends and honourers among the good of all parties; 
and that quacks in education, quacks in politics, and 
quacks in criticism, were his only enemies.* 

* It is not eas}' to estimate the effects which the example of a young- man, 
as highly distinsruished for strict purity of disposition and conduct as^or in- 
tellectual power and literary acquirements, may produce on those of the 
same age with himself, especially on those of similar pursuits and conge- 
nial minds. For many years, my opportunities of intercourse with Mr. 
Southey have been rare, and at long intervals; but 1 dwell with unabated 
pleasure on the strong and sudden, yet, I trust, not fleetino-, influence, 
which my moral being ui-derwent on my acquaintance with him at Ox- 
ford, whither I had gone at the commencemv^nt of cur Cambridge vaca- 
tion on a visit to an o'd school-fellow Not, indeed, on my moral or re- 
ligious principles, for they hod never been contaminated : but in awaken- 
in"g the sense of the duty and dignity of making m.y actions accord with 
those principles both in word and deed. The iVregularit es on!y not 
universal among the young men of my stand ng, which I always' fcnc?» 
to be Tvron^-, I tljcn i*arnt to feel as degrading; learnt to know that an op- 
posite conduct, which was at that time considered by us as the easv vir- 
tue of cold and selfish prudence, might originate in tfie noblest emotions, 
in views the most dismterested and imaginative, h is not, however, from 
grateful recollections only, that I have teen impelled thus to leave these, 
my deliberate sentiments, on record: but, in some sense, as a debt of jus- 
tice to the man whose name has been so often conne« t^d with mine, for 
evil to which he is a stranger. As a specimen, 1 subjoin part of a note, 
from " tlie Beauties of the Anti-Jacobin," in which having previously in- 
formed the public that 1 had been dishonoured at Cambridge for preach- 
ing- deism, at a time when, for mj vouthful ardour in ('efencc of Christi- 
anity, J was derrird as a bigot by' the proselytes of French Fhi- (or to 
sj^ak more truly, Psi-j Icscphy, the writer concludes with thest words : 


^ Sifrje this time he has left his native country, commenced citizen of the 
world, left his poor children fatherless, and his nife destitute. Ex hisdisct^ 
hisfrienas. Lamb and Southet." With severest truth it may be asserted, 
that it would not be easy to select two men more exemplary in their do- 
mestic affections than those whose names were thus printed at full length 
as in the same rank of morals with a denounced infidel and fugitive, and 
who had left his children /a//^6W«55, a7id his wife destitute! Is it surprising-, 
that many good men remained longer than, perhaps, they otherwise woufd 
have done, adverse to a party which encouraged and openly rewarded 
the authors of such atrocious calumnies ? Qualis ea, nescio ; sed per qua* 
les agis, scio et doleo. 



The Lyrical Ballads with the preface — Mr, Wordsworth^ s 
earlier poems — On fancy and imaginaiion — The inves- 
tigation of the distinction important to the fine arts. 

I hare wandered far from the object in view, but as I 
fancied to myself readers who would respect the feelings 
that had tempted me from the main road, so I dare cal- 
culate on not a few who will warmly sympathise with 
ihem. At present it will be sufficient for my purpose, if 
I have proved, that Mr. Southey's writings, no more than 
my own, furnished the original occasion to this fiction of school of poetry, and of clamours against its suppo- 
sed founders and proselytes. 

As little do I believe that " Mr. Wordsw^orth's Ly- 
rical Ballads" were in themselves the cause 1 speak «-x- 
clusively of the two volumes so entitled. A careful and 
repeated examination of these, confirms me in the belief, 
that the omission of less than an hundred lines would have 
precluded nine tenths of the criticism on this work. I 
hazard this declaration, however, on the supposition, that 
the reader had taken it up, as he would have done any 
other collection of poems purporting to derive their sub- 
jects or interests from the incidents of domestic or ordina- 
ry life, intermingled with higher strains of meditation 
which the poet utters in his own person and character; 
with the proviso, that th^y were perused without know- 
ledge of, or reference to, the author^s peculiar opinions, 
and that the reader had not had his attention previously 
directed to those peculiarities. In these, as was actually 
the case with Mr. Southev's earlier works, the lines and 
passages which might have oiOfended the general taste, 
would have been considered as mere inequalities, and at- 
tributed to inattention, not to perversity of Judgment. 
The men of business who had passed their lives chiefly 
in cities, and who might therefore be expected to derive 
the highest pleasure from acute notices of nien and man- 
ners, conveyed in easy, yet correct and pointed languiige ; 
and all those ^vho, reading but little poetry, are most st.i- 


mulated with that species of it which seems most distant 
from prose, would probably have passed by the volume 
altogether. Ot!iers more catholic in their taste, and yet 
habituated to be most pleased when most excited, would 
have contented themselves with deciding, that the author 
had been successful in proportion to the elevation of his 
style and subject. Not a few, perhaps, might, by their ad- 
miration o( *' the lines written near Tintern Abbey," 
those '* left upon a seat under a Yew Tree," the '' old 
Cumberland beggar,'' and " Ruth," have been gradually 
led to peruse with kindred feeling the '^ Brothers," the 
** Hart leap well," and whatever other poems in thai 
collection may be described as holding a middle place 
between those written in the highest and those in the 
humblest style ; as, for instance, between the *' Tintern 
Abbey," and " the Thorn," or the '' Simon Lee." 
Should their taste submit to no further change, and still 
remain unreconciled to the colloquial phrases, or the imi- 
tations of them, that are, more or less, scattered through 
the class last mentioned ; yet, even from the small number 
of the latter, they would have deemed them but an incon- 
siderable subtraction from the merit of the whole work ; 
or, what is sometimes not unpleasing in the publication 
of a new writer, as serving to ascertain the natural ten- 
dency, and, consequently, the proper direction of the au- 
thor's genius. 

In the critical remarks, therefore, prefixed and annexed 
to the " Lyrical Ballads," I believe, that we may safely 
rest, as the true origin of the unexampled opposition which 
Mr. Wordsworth's writings have been since doomed to en- 
counter. The humbler passages in the poems themselves 
were dwelt on and cited to justify the rejection of the 
theory. What in and for themselves would have been 
either forgotten or forgiven as imperfections, or at least 
comparative failures, provoked direct hostility when an- 
nounced as intentional, as the result of choice after full 
deliberation. Thus the poems, adiiiitted by alias excel- 
lent, joined with those which had pleased the hr greater 
number, though they formed two-thirds of che whole 
work, instead ot^ being deemed (as in all right they should 
have been, even if we take for granted that the reader 
judged aright) an atonement for the few exceptions, gave 
wind and fuel to the animosity against both the poems 


and the poet. In all perplexity there is a portion of fear, 
which predisposes the mind to an<4er. Not able to deny 
that the author possessed both genius and a powerful in- 
tellect, they felt very positive^ but were not quite certain^ 
that he mi^ht not be in the right, and they themselves in 
the wron^ ; an unquiet state of mind, which seeks allevi- 
ation by quarrelling with the occasion of it, and by won- 
dering at the perverseness of the man who had written 
along and argumentative essay to persuade them, that 

" Fair is foul, and f.ul is fair ;" 

in other words, that they had been all their lives admiring 
without judgment, and were now about to censure with- 
out reason."^ 

That this conjecture is not wide from the mark, T am 
induced to believe from the noticeable fact, which 1 can 
Btate on my own knowledge, that the same general cen- 

* In opinions of long continuance, and in which we had never before 
been molested by a single doui:»t, to be suddenly convincfA of an error^ is 
almost like being- comicfed of a fault. There is a state of mind, which is 
the direct antithesis of that which takes place when we make a butl. The 
bull, namely, consists in the bringing- tog-ethf^r two incompatible thoug-hts, 
with th'^ sensatioriy but without the sense of their connexion. The psycho- 
logical condition, or that whir-h constitutes the possibility of this state, 
bemg such disproportionate vividness of two distant thoughts, as extin- 
guishes or obscures the consciousness of the intermediate images or con- 
ceptions, or whollv abstracts the attention from them. Thus in the well 
known bull, " / was ajine child, hid they chans^ed mp;" the first conc^^ption 
expressed in the word " /,'* is that of ju'rsonal identitv — Ego contf.mplans : 
the second expressed in the word " me," is the visual imag-e or object by 
which the mind represents to itself its past condition, or rather, its person- 
al identity under the form in which it imagined itself prtviously to have 
existed — ^"Kgo contemplatus. JVow, the change of one visual image for 
another im-olves in itself no absurdity, and iVecomes absurd only by its 
immediate juxta-position with the first thought, which is rendered possi- 
ble by the whole attention being successively absorbed in each singly, so 
as not to notice the interjacent notion, *' changed," which, bv its mcon- 
gruity with the first thought, " /," constitutesthe Ijull. Add only, that 
this process is facilitated by tlie circumstance of the words *' )'* and 
*^ me^'' being sometimes equivalent, and sometimes having a distinct 
meaiiing; sometimes, namely, signifying the act of self-consciousness, 
sometimes the external image in and by which the mind represents that 
act to itsoU, the result and symbol of its individuality. Now, suppose the 
direct contrary state, and >ou will have a distinct Sv^^nse of the connexion 
between t^vo conceptions, without that sensation of such connexion which 
is supplied by h.p.bit. The nvdnftels, as if lie nere Jitandir.g on liis head, 
thougn he cannot but see, that he is truly standing on his ^ect. This, as a 
painful sensL-ticni, will of course have a tendrncy to associatei^s/lf with the 
person w'no occasions it: even as persons, who h: ve been by painful 
means restored from derangement, are known to feel an inv©lvuitary djs- 
ilVe towards their physician"^ 


sure should have been grounded almost by each different 
person on some different poem. Among those, whose 
candour and judgment I estimate highly, J distinctly re- 
member six who expressed iheir objections to the *' Ly- 
rical Ballads,' almost in the same words, and altogether 
to the same purport, at the same time admitting, ihat se- 
veral of the poems had given them great pleasure ; and, 
strange as it might seem, the composition which one had 
cited as execrable, another had quoted as his favourite. 
I am indeed convinced, in my or/n mind, that could the 
same experiment have been tried with these volumes as 
was made in the well-known story of the picture, the re- 
sult would have been the same ; the parts which had been 
covered by the number of the black spots on the one day, 
would be found equally albo lapide notatae on the suc- 

However this may be, it is assuredly hard and unjust to 
fix the attention on a few separate and insulated poems, 
with as much aversion as it' they had been so many 
plague-spots on the whole work, instead of passing tliera 
over in silence, as so much blank paper, or leaves of 
bookseller's catalogue ; especially, as no one pretends to 
have found immorality or indelicacy ; and the poems, 
therefore, at the worst, could only be regarded as so many 
light or inferior coins in a roleau of gold, not as so much 
alloy in a weight of bullion. A friend whose talents \ 
hold in the highest respect, but whos^ judgment 2iud strong 
sound sense 1 have had almost continued occasion to revere^ 
making the usual complaints to me concerning both the 
style and subjects of Mr. Wordsworth's minor poems. I 
admitted that there were some few of the tales and inci- 
dents, in which I could not myself find a sufficient cause 
for their having been recorded in metre, i mentioned 
" Alice Fell" as an instance ; '' nay," replied my friend, 
with more than usual quickness of manner, *' I cannot 
agree with you there I th:n I own does seem to me a re- 
markably pleasing poem '* In the *' Lyrical Ballads' 
(for my expt^i'ience doe^^ not ennble me to extend the re- 
mark equally unqualified to the (wo vsubsequent volumes) 
1 have heard, at different times, and from difierent indi- 
viduals, every single poem extolled and reprobated with 
the exception of those of loftier kind, which, as was before 
observed, seem to have won universal praise. This fact 


of itself would have made me diffident in toy censures, 
had not a still stronger ground been furnished by the 
strange contrast of the beat and long continuance of the 
opposition, with the nature of the faults stated as justify- 
ing it. The seductive faults, the dulcia \^itia of Cowley, 
Marini, or Darwin, might reasonably be thought capable 
of corrupting the public judgment for half a century, and 
require a twenty years' war, campaign after campaign, in 
order to dethrrne the usurper, and re-eslablish the legiti- 
mate taste. But that a downright simpleness, under the 
affectation of simplicity, prosaic words in feeble metre, 
silly thoughts in childish phrases, and a preference of 
mean, degrading, or, at best, trivial associations and cha- 
racters, should succeed in forming a school of imitators, 
a company of almost 7'eUgio7is admirers, and this among 
young men of ardent minds, liberal education, and not 

" with academic laurels unbestowed ;'* 

and that this bare and bald counterfeit of poetry, which 
is characterised as below criticism, should, for nearly 
twenty years, have well-nigh engrossed criticism as the 
main, if not the only, butt of review, magazine, pam- 
phlets, poem, and paragraph ; — this is, indeed, matter of 
wonder ! Of yet greater i.^ it, that the contest should still 
continue as* undecided as that between Bacchus and the 

* Without, however, the apprehensions attributed to the Pagan refor- 
mer of the poetic republic. If we mav judge from the preface to the re- 
cent collection of his poems, Mr. W. would have answered with Xan- 


Ka» Tojcrfi^as; SAN. s/ia A.', aS^ £q:fovTi(ra. 

id here let me dare hint to the authors of the numerous parodies and 
etended imitations of Mr. Wordsvvorth's style, that, at once to convey 
t and wi-dom in the semblance of folly and dulness, as is done in the 
clowns and fools, nay, even in the Dogberry, of our Shakspeare, is, 
doubtless, a proof of genius ; or, at al! events; of satiric talent : but that 
the attempt to ridicule a silly and childish poem, by writing another still 
sillier and still more childish, can onl} rrovc, (if it prove any thing at all,) 
that the parodist is a still greated blockhead than the original writer, and, 
what is far worse, a 7nalignnnt coxcomJj to boot. The talent for mimicry 
seems strohiest where the human race are most degraded. The poor, 
naked, half iiumaji ravages of New Holland, were found excellent mimics : 
and in civilized society, minds of the \er} lowest stamp alone satirize br 
copying- At least the difterence, w hich niust blend witn, and balance the 
liKeness, in order to constitute a just imitation, existing* here merely in 
caricature, detracts from the libeller's heart, without adding an iota to the 
credit of hi* understanding. 


frogs in Aristophanes ; when the former descended to the 
realms of the departed to brine; back the spirit of old and 
genuine poesy. 

X. aXXa ,aTiv x£xja^(?yfc^a 
X'oTTccrov Ti (pa?i;7f av -nfiecr 
Xav5avn 5i Ti;i£^aj 
3j£xfK£)(€^, xoa|, Jtoaf •' 

A. TSTOJ 7aj 8 VI)IT1C7fT£. 

X. e5£ fifv nuaj cru Travtcoj. 

A. is5f fifv nfifij 7£ 5n /la 
«5£rroT£' xEx^a^ojittJ 7ap 
xav /i£ 5ft 5i -niiffaj, 
£coi dv i;;iu)v fTTixjaTricro^ to) Koa^ ■ 

X. {i^=^£x£x£|, KOAS, KOAS ! 

During the last year of my residence at Cambridge, I 
became acquainted with Mr. Wordsworth's first publica- 
tions, entitled '' Descriptive Sketches ;" and, if 
ever, was the emergence of an original poetic genius 
above the literary horizon more evidently announced. 
In the form, style, and manner of the whole poem, and 
in the structure of the particular lines and periods, there 
is an harshness and an acerbity connected and combin- 
ed with words and images all a-glow, which might recall 
those products of the veoretable world, where gorgeous 
blossoms rise out of the hard and thorny rind and shell, 
within which the rich fruit was elaborating. The lan- 
guage was not only peculiar and strong, but at times 
knotty and contorted, as by its own impatient strength ; 
while the novelty and struggling crowd of images, acting 
in conjunction with the difficulties of the style, demand- 
ed always a greater closeness of attention than poetry, 
(at all events, than descriptive poetry,) has a right to 

Vol. I. 6 


claim. It not seldom, therefore, justified the complaint 
of obscurity. In the following extract I have sometimes 
fancied that I saw an emblem of the poem itself, and of 
the author's genius as it was then displayed. 

^* 'Tis storm ; and hid in mist from hour to hour, 
All day the floods a deepening- murmur pour ; 
The sky is veiled, and every cheerful sight: 
Dark is the region as with coming" night ; 
And yet what frequent bursts of overpowering light ; 
Triumphant on the bosom of the storm, 
Glances the fire-clad eagle's wheeling form ; 
Eastward, in long perspective glittering, shine 
The wood-crowned cliffs that o*er the lake recline ; 
Wide o'er the Alps a hundred streams unfold, 
At once to pillars turn'd that flame with gold ; 
Behind his sail the peasant strives to shun 
The West, that burns like one dilated sun, 
Where in a mighty crucible expire 
The mountains, glowing hot, like coals of fire.'* 

The poetic Psyche, in its process to full development, 
undergoes as many changes as its Greek name-sake, the 
butterfly.* And it is remarkable how soon genius clears 
and purifies itself from the faults and errors of its earliest 
products; faults which, in its earliest compositions, are 
the more obtrusive and confluent ; because, as heteroge- 
neous elements which had only a temporary use, they 
constitute the \evy ferment by which themselves are car- 
ried off. Or we may compare them to some diseases, 
ivhich must work on the humours, and be thrown out on 
the surface, in order to secure the patient from their fu- 
ture recurrence. 1 was in my twenty- fourth year when 
1 had the happiness of kno\ving Mr. Wordsworth person- 

*The fact, that in Gi-eok P:-\-chp i? the common nnme for the soni, and 
the buttcrliy, is thus alluded torn tlie fellowing stanza from an unpublished 
)H)em of the author : 

^' The butterfly the ancient Grecians made 
The soul's fair emblem, and its only name — 
But of the soul, escaped the slavish "trade 
Of m.ortal life ! For m this earthly frame 
Our's is the reptile's lot, much toil, much blame, 
Manifold motions makin;^ little speed, 
And to deform aud kill the things whereon we f^ed.'^ 

S. T. €. 


ally, ^nd while memory lasts, I shall hardly forget the 
sudden effect produced on my mind, by his recitation of 
a manuscript poem, which still remains unpublished, but 
of which the stanza, and tone of style, were the same as 
those of the *' Female Vagrant,'- as originally printed ia 
the first volume of the '' Lyrical Ballads." There was 
here no mark of strained thought or forced diction, no 
croud or turbulence of imagery; and, as the poet hath 
himself well described in his lines " on revisiting the 
Wye," manly reflection, and human associations, had 
given both variety and an additional interest to natural 
objects, which, in the passion and appetite of the first 
love, they had seemed to him neither to Heed or permit. 
The occasional obscurities which had risen from an im- 
perfect controul over the resources of his native language^ 
had almost wholly disappeared, together with that worse 
defect of arbitrary and illogical phrases, at once hack- 
neyed and fantastic, which hold so distinguished a place 
in the technique of ordinary poetry, and vvill, more or 
Je?s, alloy the earlier poems of the truest genius, unless 
the attention has been specifically directed to their worth- 
lessness and incongruity.* 1 did not perceive any thing 
particular in the mere style of the poem alluded to dur- 
ing its recitation, except, indeed, such difference as was 
not separable from the thought and manner ; and the 
Speucerian stanza, which always, more or less, recalls to 
the reader's mind Spencer's own style, would doubtless 
have authorized, in my then opinion, a more frequent 
descent to the phrases of ordinary life than could, with- 

* Mr. VVords worth, even in his tw-o earliest, "the Evening Walk and 
the descriptive Sketches," is more free from this latter defect than most 
of the young- poets, his contemporaries. It may, however, be exempli- 
fied—together with the harsh and obscure construction, in which he mor^ 
often offended— in the following lines : 

" 'Mid stormy vapours ever driving by, 
Where ospreys, cormorants, and herons cry; 
Where hardly given the hopeless waste to cheer, 
Denied the bread of life the foodful ear, 
Dwindles the pear on autumn's latest spray, 
And apple sickens pale in summer'^ ray ; 
JS'en here content has fixed her smiling reign 
With independence, child of high disdain.'^ 

I hope I need not say, that I have quoted these lines for no other purposd 
a^/" il? ^^^^^ ^y meaning fully understood. It is to be regretted tliat 
Mr. Wordsworth has not republished these two poems entire. 


out an ill effect, have been hazarded in the heroic couplet. 
It was not, however, the freedom from false taste, whe- 
ther as to common defects, or to those more properly his 
own, which made so unusual an impression on my feel- 
ings irnmediately, and subsequently on my judgment. It 
was the union of deep feeling with profound thought ; the 
tine balance of truth in observing, with the imaginative 
faculty in modifying the objects observed ; and, above all, 
the original gift of spreading the tone, the atmosphere^ 
and. with it, the depth and height of the ideal world 
around forms, incidents, and situations, of which, for the 
common view, custom had bedimmed all the lustre, had 
dried up the sparkle and the dew drops *' To find no 
contradiction in the union of old and new ; to contem- 
plate the ANCIENT of days and all his works with feel- 
ings as fresh as if all had then sprang forth at the first 
creative fiat ; characterizes the mind that feels the riddle 
of the world, and may help to unravel it. To carry oa 
the feelings of childhood into the powers of manhood ; 
to combine the child's sense of wonder and novelty with 
the appearances which every day, for, perhaps, forty 
years, had rendered familiar ; 

*' With sun and moon and stars throughout the year, 

And man and woman ;" 

this is the character and privilege of genius, and one of 
the marks which distinguish genius from talents. And, 
therefore, it is the prime merit of genius, and its most un- 
equivocal mode of manifestation, so to represent familiar 
objects as to awaken in the minds of others a kindred 
feeling concerning them, and that freshness of sensation 
which is the constant accompaniment of mental, no less 
than of bodily convalescence. Who has not a thousand 
times seen snow fall on water ? Who has not watched it 
with a new feeling from the time that he has read Burn's 
comparison of sensual pleasure, 

*' To snow that falls upon a river, 

A moment white — then gone for ever !^' 

" In poems, equally as in philosophic disquisitions, ge- 
nius produces the strongest impressions of novelty, while 
it rescues the most admitted truths from the impotence 
caused by the very circumstance of their universal ad- 


mission. Truths, of all others the most awful and mys- 
terious, yet being;, at the same lime, of universal interest^ 
are too often considered as so true, that they lose all the 
life and efficiency of truth, and lie bed-ridden in the dor- 
mitory of the soul, side by side with the most despised 
and exploded errors," The Friend,* page 76, No. 5, 
This excellence, which, in all Mr. Wordsworth's wri- 
tings, is more or less predominant, and which constitutes 
the character of his mind, I no sooner felt than I sought 
to understand. Repeated meditations led me first to sus- 
pect, (and a more intimate analysis of the human facul- 
ties, their appropriate marks, functions, and effects, ma- 
tured my conjecture into full conviction,) that fancy and 
imagination were two distinct and widely different facul- 
ties, instead of being, according to the general belief, 
either two names with one meaning, or, at furthest, the 
lower and higher degree of one and the same power. If 
is not, I own, easy to conceive a more opposite transla- 
tion of the Greek phantasia than the Latin imaginatio ; 
but it is equally true, that in all societies there exists an 
instinct of growth, a certain collective, unconscious good 
sense, working progressively to desynonymizej those 

* As " the Friend" was printed on stampt sheets, and sent only by the 
post, to a very h'mited numoer of siubscribers, the author has felt less ob- 
jection to quote from it, though a work of his own. To the public at 
larg-e, indeed, it is the same as a volume in manuscript. 

f This is effected either by g:iving to the one word a j^eneral, and to 
the other an exclusive use : as, " to put on the back," and " to endorse ;'* 
cr, by an actual distinction of meanings, as, " naturalist," and '• physi- 
(ian:" or, by difl'erence of relation, as, " I," and "me;" (each of which 
liic rustics of our different provinces still use in all the cases singular of 
the first personal pronoun.) Even the mere difference, or corruption, in 
tiie primwiciation of the same word, if it have become g^eneral, will pro- 
duce a new word nilh a distinct signification ; thus, " pronertv," and 
"propriety;" the latter of which, even to the time of Gliarles H,, was 
the nriilen word ♦or all the senses of both. Thus, too, " mister," and 
" master," both hasty pronunciations of the same word, " magister :*' 
"mistress," and " missj" " if," and " give," &c. &c. There is a sort of 
minim immortal, among the animalcula infusoria, which has not, natural^ 
ly, either birth or death, absolute bcainning or absolute end; for, at a 
certain period, a small point appears on its back, which deepens and 
lengthens till the creature divides into two^ and the same process recom- 
mejices in each of the halves now become integral. This may be a fainci' 
ful, but it is by no means a bad emblem of the formation of words, and may 
facilitate the conception, how immense a nomenclature may be organized 
from a few simple sounds by rational beings in a social state. For each 
new application or excitement of the same sound, will call forth a difi'erent 
sensation, which cam ot but atl'ect the pronunciation. The after r- (ollec- 
tion of the sound, without the same vivid sensation, will modify it still fur-- 
tlivr ; till, at bijgth, all trace of the original likeaess is worn away. 



words, originally of the same meaning, which the con- 
flux of dialects had supplied lo the more homogeneous 
lauiiuages, as the Greek and German : and which the 
safije cause, joined with accidents of translation from ori- 
ginal works of different countries, occasion in mixt lan- 
guages like our own. The first and most important 
point to be proved, is, that two conceptions perfectly dis- 
tinct are confused under one and the same word, and, 
(this dore,) to appr ipriato that word exclusively to one 
meaning, and the synonyme, (sliould there be one,) to the 
other- But if, (as will be often the case in the arts and 
sciences,) no sj^nonyme exists, we must either invent or 
borrow a word. In the present instance, the appropria- 
tion had already begun, and been legitimated in the de- 
rivative adjective : A^ilton had a highly imaginative^ 
Cowley a yery fanciful mind- If, therefore, I should 
succeed in establishing the actual existences of two fa- 
culties i:enerally different, the nomenclature would be at 
once determined. To the t^aculty by which I had cha- 
racterized Milton, we should confine the term iinagrna- 
Hon ; while the other would he contra-distinguished as 
fancy. Now, were it once fully ascertained, that this 
division is no less ^rounded in nature than that of delirium 
from mania, or Ot way's 

" Lutes, lobsters, seas of milk, and ships of amber,*' 

from Shakspeare's 

** What, have his daughters brought him to this pass r" 

or from the preceding apostrophe to the elements ; the 
theory of the fine arts, and of poetry in particular, could 
jiot. ! thought, but derive some additional and import- 
ant light- It would, in its immediate effects, furnish a 
torch of guidance to the philosophical critic; and, uili- 
mately, to the poet himself. In energetic minds, truth 
soon changes, by domestication, into power ; and from di- 
recting in the discrimination and apprc-isa! of the product, 
becomes influencive in the production. To adniire on 
principle, is the only way to imitate without loss of ori- 

It has been already hinted, that metaphysics and psy- 
chology have long been my hobby-horse. But to have a 


hobby-horse, and to be vain of it, are so commonly found 
together, that they pass ahnost for the same. I trust, 
therefore, that there will be more good humour than con- 
tempt, in the smile with which the reader chastises my 
self complacency, if I confess myself uncertain, whether 
the satisfaction from the perception of a truth new to my- 
self, may not have been rendered more poignant, by the 
conceit that it would be equally so to the public. There 
was a time, certainly, m which I took some little credit 
to myself, in the belief that 1 had been the first of my 
countrymen who had pointed out the diverse meaning of 
which the two terms were capable, and analyzed the fa- 
culties to which they should be appropriated. Mr. W, 
Taylor's recent volumes of synonymes I have not yet 
seen ;* but his specification of the terms in question has 
been clearly shown to be both insullftcient and erroneous 
by Mr. Wordsworth, in the preface added to the late col« 

* I ought to havr, added, with the exception of a single sheet which I 
accideutally met with at the printer's. Even from this scanty specimen, 
I found it impossible to doubt the talent, or not to admire the mgenuity of 
the author. 'That his distinctions were, for the greater oart, unsatisfac- 
tory to my mind, proves nothing against their accuracy : nut it may possi- 
bly be serviceable to him in case of a second edition, if I take this oppor- 
tunity of suggesting the query, whether he may not have been occasional- 
ly misled, by having assuniecl, as to me be appeared to have done, the 
non-existence of any absolute synonymes in our language ? ?vow, I cannot 
but think, that there are many whi^h remain for our posterity to distin- 
guish and appropriate, and which I regard as so much reversionary wealth 
in our mother tongue. When two distinct meanings are confounded un- 
der one or more words, (and such must be the case, as sure as our know- 
ledge is progressive, and, of course, imperfect) erroneous consequences 
will be clrawn, and what is true in one sense of the word, will be affirmed 
as true in toto. Men of research, startled by the consequences, seek in 
the things themselves (whether in or out of the mind) for a knowledge 
of the fact, and having disrovered the difference, remove the equivocation 
either by the substitution of a new word, or by the appropriation of one of 
the two or more words, that had before been used promiscuously. When 
this distinction has been so naturalized and of such general currency that 
the language itself does, as it were, think for us, ^like the sliding rule, 
which is the mechanic's safe substitute for arithmetical knowledge,) we 
then say, that it is evident to common sense. Common sense, therefore, 
differs in different ages. What was born and christened in the schools, 
passes bv degrees into the world at lar^e, and becomes the property of 
the maritet and the tea-table. At least, I can discover no otlicr meajliag 
of the term, commm sense, if it is to convey any specific difference from 
sense and judgment in genere, and where it is not used scholastically for 
the wdversal reason. Thus, in the reign of Charles 11., the philosophic 
world was called to arms by the moral sophisms of Ilohbs, and- the ablest 
writers exe;ted themselves' in the detection of an error which a school- 
boy would now be able to confute by the mere recollection, that compul- 
sion and obligation conveyed two ideas perfectly disparate, and that what 
appertained to the one, had- been falsely transferrecl to the other,- by a 
mere confusioQ of terciss 


lection of his ^* Lyrical Ballads and other poems.'* The 
explanation which Mr. Wordsworth has himself given, 
will be found to differ from mine, chiefly, perhaps, as our 
objects are different. It could scarcely, indeed, happen 
otherwise, from the advantage I have enjoyed of frequent 
conversation with him on a subject to which a poem of 
his own first directed my attention, and my conclusions 
concerning which, he had made more lucid to myself by 
many happy instances drawn from the operation of na- 
tural objects on the mind. But it was Mr. Wordsworth's 
purpose to consider the influences of fancy and imagina- 
tion as they are manifested in poetry, and, from the dif- 
ferent effects, to conclude their diversity, in kind ; while 
it is my object to investigate the sem.inal principle, and 
then,' from the kind, to deduce the degree. My friend has 
drawn a masterly sketch of the branches, with their poetic 
fruitage. I wish to add the trunk, and even the roots, 
as far as they lift themselves above ground, and are visi- 
ble to the naked eye of our common consciousness. 

Yet, even in this attempt, I am aware that I shall be 
obliged to draw more largely on the reader's attention,. 
than so immethodicai a miscellany can authorize ; when 
in such a work {the Ecclesiastical Policy) of such a mind 
as Hooker's, the judicious author, though no less admiya- 
ble for the perspicuity than for the port and dignity of his 
language ; and though he wrote for men of learning in a 
learned age ; saw, nevertheless, occasion to anticipate and 
guard against '' complaints of obscurity," as often as he 
was to trace his subject " to the highest well-spring and^ 
fountain." Which, (continues he,) '' because men are 
not accustomed to, the pains we take are more needful, a 
great deal, than acceptable ; and the matters we handle 
seem, by reason of newness, (till the mind grow better- 
acquainted \vith theun,' dark and intricate." I would 
gladly, therefore, .-pare both myself and others this labour, 
if I knew how without it to present an intelligible state- 
ment of my poetic creed; not as my opinions, which 
"weigh for nothing, but as deductions from established pre- 
mises, conveyed in such a form as is calculated either to 
effect a fundamental conviction, or to receive a funda- 
mentaj cont\Uation. If 1 may dare once more adopt the^ 
words of Mooker, *' they, unto whom we shall seem te- 
dious, are in no wis-e injured by us, because it is in their 


own hands to spare that labour, which they are not wil- 
ling to endure." Those at least, let me be permitted to 
add, who have taken so much pains to render me ridicu- 
lous for a perversion of taste, and have supported the 
charge by attributing strange notions to me on no other 
authority than their own conjectures, owe it to themselves, 
as well as to me, not to refuse their attention to my own 
statement of the theory, which 1 do acknowledge ; or 
shrink from the trouble of examining the grounds on 
which I rest it, or the arguments which 1 offer in its jus- 



On the law of association — Its history traced from 
Aristotle to Hartley, 

There have been men in all ages, who have been in>- 
pelled, as by an instinct, to propose their own nature as a 
problem, and who devote their attempts to its solution. 
The first step was to construct a table of distinctions, 
which thev seem to have formed on the principle of the 
absence or presence of the will. Our various sensations, 
perceptions, and movements were classed as active or 
passive, or as media partaking of both. A still finer dis- 
tinction was soon established between the voluntary and 
the spontaneous. In our perceptions we seem to our- 
selves merely passive to an external power, whether as a 
mirror reflecting the landscape, or as a blank canvas on 
which some unknown hand paints it. For it is worthy 
of notice, that the latter, or the system of idealism, may 
be traced to sources equally remote with the former, or 
tnaterialism ; and Berkeley can boast an ancestry at least 
as venerable as Gassendi or Hobbs. These conjectures, 
however, concerning the mode in which our perceptions 
originated, could not alter the natural difference in things 
and thoughts In the former, the cause appeared wholly 
external ; while in the latter, sometimes our will interfered 
as the producing or determining cause, and sometimes our 
nature seemed to act by a mechanism of its own, without 
any conscious efibrt of the will, or even against it. Our 
inward experiences were thus arranged in three separate 
classes, the passive sense, or what the school-men call 
the merely receptive quality of the mind ; the voluntary ; 
and the spontaneous, which holds the middle place be- 
tween both But it is not in human nature to meditate 
on any mode of action, without inquiring after the law 
that governs it ; and in the explanation of the spontaneous 
movements of our being, the metaphysician took the lead 
of the anatomist and natural philosopher. In Egypt, Pa- 
lestine, Greece, and India, the analysis of the mind had 
reached its noon find manhood, while experimental re- 


search was still in its dawn and infancy. For many, 
very many centuries, it has been difhcult to advance a 
nevv truth, or even a new error, in the phiJo-ophy of the 
intellect or morals. With regard, however, to the laws 
that direct the spontaner)us movements of thought, and the 
principle of their intellectual mechanism, there exists, it 
has bten asserted, an important exception, most honoura- 
ble to the moderns, and in the merit of »vhich our own 
country claims the largest share. Sir James Mackintosh 
(who, amid the variety of his talents and attainments, is 
not of less repute for the depth and accuracy of his phi- 
losophical inquiries, than for the eloquence with which 
he is said to render their most ditlicult results perspicuous, 
and the driest attractive) affirmed, in the lectures deliver- 
ed by him at Lincoln's Inn Hall, that the law of associa- 
tion, as established in the contemporaneity of the original 
impressions, formed the basis of all true phsychology ; 
and any ontological or metaphysical science, not contained 
in such (i. e. empirical) phsychology, was but a w^eb of 
abstractions and generalizations. Of this prolific truth, 
of tnis great fundamental law, he declared Hobbs to have 
been the original discoverer, while its full application to 
the whole intellectual system we owe to David Hartley ;-• 
who stood in the same relation to Hobbs, as Newton to 
Kepler ; the law of association being that to the mind, 
which gravitation is to matter. 

Of the former clause in this assertion, as it respects the 
comparative merits of the ancient metaphysicians, inclu- 
ding their commentators, the school men, and of the mo- 
dern French and British philosophers, from Hobbs to 
Hume, Hartley and Condeilac, this is not the place to 
speak, ^'o wide indeed is the chasm between this gen- 
tleman's philosophical creed and mine, that so far from 
being able to join hands, we could scarce make our voices 
intelligible to each other: and to bridge it over, would 
require more time, skill, and power, than I believe myself 
to possess, Bui the latter clause involves for the greater 
part a mere question of fact and history, and the accuracy 
of the. statement is to be tried by documents rather than 

First, then, I deny Hobbs's claim in toto : for he had 
been anticipated by Des Cartes, whose work '' De Me-ho- 
io" preceded Hobbs's " De Natura Humana," by more 


than a year. But what is of much more importance, 
Hobbs builds nothing on the principle which he had an- 
nounced. He doen not even announce it, as differing in 
any respect from the general laws of material motion and 
impact: nor was it, indeed, possible for him so to do, 
compatibly with his system, which was exclusively mate- 
rial and mechanical. Far otherwise is it with Des Cartes ; 
greatly as he too, in his after writings, (and still more 
egregiously his followers, De la Forge, and others,) ob- 
scured the truth by their attempts to explain it on the the- 
ory of nervous fluids and material configurations. But 
in his interesting work " De Methodo," Des Cartes re- 
lates the circumstance which first led him to meditate on 
this subject, and which since then has been often noticed 
and employed as an instance and illustration of the law. 
A child who, with its eyes bandaged, had lost several of 
his fingers by amputation, continued to complain for many 
days successively of pains, now in his joint, and now in 
that of the very fingers which had been cut off. Des 
Cartes was led by this incident to reflect on the uncer- 
tainty with which we attribute any particular place to any 
inward pain or uneasiness, and proceeded, after long con- 
sideration, to establish it as a general law, that contem- 
poraneous impressions, whether images or sensations, re- 
cal each other mechanically. On this principle, as a 
ground work, he built up the whole system of human lan- 
guage, as one continued process of association. He show- 
ed in what sense not only general terms, but generic 
images, (under the name of abstract ideas, )actually exist- 
ed, and in what consists their nature and power. As one 
word may become the general exponent of many, so, by 
association, a simple image may represent a whole class. 
But in truth, Hobbs himself makes no claims to any dis- 
covery, and introduces this law of association, or, (in his 
own language,) discursus mentalis, as an admitted fact, in 
the solution alone of which this, by causes purely physio- 
logical, he arrogates any originality. His system is briefly 
this ; whenever the senses are impinged on by external 
objects, whether by the rays of light reflected from them, 
or by effluxes of their finer particles, there results a cor- 
respondent motion of the innermost and subtlest organs. 
This motion constitutes a representation^ and there re- 
mains an impression of the same, or a certain disposition 


to repeat the same motion. Whenever we feel several 
objects at the same time, the hnpressions that are left (or, 
in the language of Mr. Hume, the ideas) are linked to- 
gether VVhenever, therefore, any one of the movements 
which constitute a complex impression, are renewed 
through the senses, the others succeed mechanically. It 
foHow.^of necessity, therefore, that Hobbs, as well as Hart-* 
ley. and all others who derive association from the con- 
nexion and interdependence of the supposed matter, the 
movements o which constitute our thoughts, must have 
reduced all its forms to the one law of time. But even 
the merit of announcing this law with philosophic preci- 
sion cannot be fairly conceded to him. For the objects 
of any two ideas* need not have co-existed in the same 
sensation in order to become mutually associable. The 
same result will follow, when one only of the two ideas 

* I here use the word " id^a" in Mr. Hume's sense, on account of its 
g-enera! currenc}" among the En^rlish metaphysicians, thoug']i ag:ainst my 
own JL:d2:ment; for I believe that the vague use of this word has been the 
caus^" of mui h error and moi'e confusion. The word, Idea, in its original 
sense, as u^f d ])y Pindar, Aristophanes, and in the gospel of Matthew, re- 
presented the visual abstraction of a distant object, when we see the 
whole without distinguishing its parts. Plato adopted it as a technical 
term, and as the antithesis to EioooAa, or sensuous images ; the transient 
and perishable emblems, or mental words, of ideas. The ideas tlicm- 
selves he considered as mysterious powers, living, seminal, formative, and 
exempt from time. In this sense the word became the property of the 
Platonic school : and it seldom occurs in Aristotle, without some such 
phrase annexed to it, as according to Plato, or as Plato says. Our En2"lish 
writers to the end of Charles 2nd's reign, or somewhat later, employed it 
either in the original sense, Oi' platomcally, or in a sense nearly corres- 
pondent to our present use of the substantive, Ideal, always, however, op- 
posing it, more or less, to image, whether of present or absent objects. 
The reader will not be displeased with the following interesting exempli- 
fication from bishop Jeremy Taylor. " St. Lewis the king sent Ivo bishop 
of Chartres on an embasej'^, and he told, that he met a grave and state- 
ly matron on the way with a censer of fire in one hand, and a vess^^l oi 
water in the other; and observing her to have a melancholy, religious, 
and phantastic deportment and look, he asked her what those symbols 
meant, and what she meant to do with her fire and water; she answered, 
my purpose is with the fire to burn paradise, and with my water to 
quench tWQ flames of hell, that men may serve God purely for the love of 
Cod. But wc rarcl} meet with such s'pirits, wluch love virtue so meta- 
physically as to ahsircrt her from all sensible compositions^ and love the jpurity 
(]f the idea/*'* Dea Cartes having introduced into his philosophy the fanci- 
ful hypothesis of maierial iAeas^ or certain configurations oi" the brain, 
which v/e re as so memy moulds to the influxes of the extern3l world; 
Mr. Locke adonted the* term, but extended its signification to whatever is 
the immediate oojectof the mind's attention or consciousness. Mr. Hume, 
distinguishing those representations which are accompanied with a sense 
of a present object, f^om tho?e reproduced by the mind itself, designated 
the former bv impressionsi and connned the word idea to the latter. 

Vol. 1. 6 


bas been represented by the senses, and the other by the 

Long, however, before either Hobbs or Des Cartes, 
the Luv of association had been defined, and its important 
functions set forth by Mehmchthon, Ammerbach, and Lu- 
dovicus Vives ; more especially by the last. Phantasia, 
it is to be noticed, is employed by Vives to express the 
mental power of comprehension, or the active function of 
the mind ; and imaginatio for the receptivity (vis recep- 
tiva) of impressions, or for the passive perception. The 
power of combination he appropriates to the former: — 
*' quQS singula et simpliciter acceperat imaginatio, ea con- 
jnngit et disgungit phantasia." And the law by which 
the thoughts are spontaneously presented follows thus : 
'* quiB simul sunt a phnntasa comprehensa si alterutnim 
occurrat, solet secum alterum representare." To time, 
therefore, he subordinates all the other exciting causes of 
association. The soul proceeds " a causa ad effectum, 
ab hoc ad instrumentum, a parte ad totum ;" thence to the 
place, from place to person, and from this to whatever 
preceded or followed, all as being parts of a total impres- 
sion, each of which may recal the other. The apparent 
springs " Saltus vel transitus etiam longisimos," he ex- 
plains by the same thought having been a component 
part of two or more total impressions. Thus " ex Scipi- 
one venio incogitationem potentiae Turcicas proper victo- 
rias ejus in ea parte Asins in qua regnabat Antiochus." 

But from Vives I pass at once to the source of his doc- 
trines, and (as far as we can judge from the remains yet 
^extant of Greek philosophy) as to the first, so to the fullest 
and most perfect enunciation of the associative principle, 
viz. to the writino;s of Aristotle ; and of these princi- 
pally to the books'' De Anima," " De Memoria," and that 
which is entitled in the old translations *' Parva Natura- 
lia." In ns much as later writers have either deviated 
from, or added to his doctrines, they appear to me to have 
introduced either error or groundless supposition. 

In the first place, it is to be observed, that Aristotle's 
positions on this subject are unmixed with fiction. The 
wise Stairyrite speaks of no successive particles propa- 
gating motion like billiard balls, (as Hobbs ;) nor of ner- 
ro -s or anim d spirits, where inanimate and irrational so- 
lids are thawej down, and distilled, or filtrated by ascen- 


sion, into living and intelligent fluids, that etch and re-etch 
engravin2;s on the brain, (as the followers of Des Cartes, 
and the humoral pathologists in general ;) nor of an os- 
cillating ether which was to effect the same service for 
the nerves of the brain considered as solid fibres, as the 
animal spirits perform for them under the notion of hollow 
tubes, (as Hartley teaches) — nor finally, (with yet more 
recent dreamers,) of chemical compositions by elective af- 
finity, or of an electric light at once the immediate ob- 
ject and the ultimate organ of inward vision, which rises 
to the brain hke an Aurora Borealis, and there disporting 
in various shapes, (as the balance of plus and minus, or 
negative and positive, is destroyed or re-established,) im- 
ages out both past and present. Aristotle delivers a just 
theortj, without pretending to an hypothesis ; or in other 
words, a comprehensive survey of the different facts, and 
of their relations to each other, without supposition^ i. e. 
a fact placed under a number of facts, as their common 
support and explanation ; though in the mv^jority of in- 
stances, these hypotheses or suppositions better deserve 
the name of XTrarromo-crf, or siiffictions. He uses, indeed, the 
word KivTio-crj, to express what we call representations 
or ideas, but +ie carefully distinguishes them from mate- 
rial motion, designating the latter always by annexing the 
words Ev Torrw, or xara tottov On the Contrary, in his treatise 
^* De Anima," he excludes place and motion from all the 
operations of thought, whether representations or voli- 
tions, as attributes utterly and absurdly heterogeneous. 

The. general law of association, or more accurately the 
common condition under which all exciting causes act, and 
in which they may be generalized, according to Aristotle, 
is this. : Ideas, by having been together, acquire a power 
of recalling each other ; or every partial representation 
awakes the total representation of which it had been a 
part. In the practical determination of this common prin- 
ciple to particular recollections, he admits ^\e agents or 
occasioning causes : 1st, connection in time, whether 
simultaneous, preceding or successive ; 2nd, vicinity or 
connection in space ; 3rd. interdependence or necessary 
connection, as cause and effect ; 4th, likeness; and 5th, 
contrast. As an additional solution of the occasional seem- 
ing chasms in the continuity of reproduction, he proved 


that movements or ideas possessing one or the other of' 
these five characters had passed through the mind as in- 
termediate links, sufficiently clear to recal other parts of 
the same total impressions with which they had co-existed, 
though not vivid enough to excite that degree of attention 
which is requisite for distinct recollection, or as w^e may 
aptly express it, after-consciousness In association, then, 
consists the whole mechanism of the reproduction of im- 
pressions, in the Aristotelian Psychology. It is the uni- 
versal law of the passive fancy and mechanical memory : 
that w hich supplies to all other faculties their objects, to 
all thought the elements of its materials. 

In consulting the excellent commentary of St. Thomas 
Aquinas on the Parva Naturalia of Aristotle, I was struck 
at once with its close resemblance to Hume's essay on 
association. The main thoughts were the same in both, 
the orde7' of the thoughts was the same, and even the 
illustrations differed only by Hume's occasional substitu- 
tion of more modern examples. I mentioned the cir- 
cumstance to several of my literary acquanitances, who 
admitted the closeness of the resemblance, and that it 
seemed too great to be explained by mere coincidence ; 
but they thought it improbable that Hume should have 
held the pages of the angelic Doctor worth turning ov^er. 
But some time after, Mr. Payne, of the King's mews, 
showed Sir James Mackintosh some odd volumes of St. 
Thomas Aquinas, partly perhaps from having heard that 
Sir James (then Mr.) Mackintosh had in his lectures past 
a high encomium on this canonized philosopher, but 
chiefly from the fact, that the volumes had belonged to 
Mr. Hume, and had here and there marginal marks and 
notes of reference in his own hand writing. Among these 
volumes was that which contains the Parva J^^aturalia^ 
in the old latin version, swathed and swaddled in the 
commentary afore mentioned ! 

It remains, then, for me, first, to state wherein Hartley 
differs from Aristotle ; then, to exhibit the grounds of my 
conviction, that he differed only to err : and next, as the 
result, to show, by what influences of the choice and 
judgment the associative power becomes either meQ:iory 
or fancy ; and, in conclusion, to appropriate the remain- 
ing officer of Vhe mincj to tbe reason and the ima|ina- 


tion. With- my best efforts to be as perspicuous as the 
nature of language will permit on such a subject, I earn- 
estly solicit the good wishes and friendly patience of my 
readers, while I thus go *' sounding on my dim and pe- 
rilous way.'' 




That Hartley'' s system, as far as it differs from that of 
Aristotle, is neither tenable in theory, nor founded in 

Of Hartley's hypothetical vibrations in his hypotheti- 
cal oscillating ether of the nerves, which is the first and 
most obvious distinction between his system and that of 
Aristotle, I shall say little. This, with all other similar 
attempts to render that an object of the sight which has 
no relation to sight, has been already sufficiently expos- 
ed by the younger Reimarus, Maasse, &-c. as outraging 
the very axioms of mechanics, in a scheme, the merit of 
which consists in its being mechanical. Whether any 
other philosophy be possible, but the mechanical ; and 
again, whether the m.echanical system can have any 
claim to be called philosophy ; are questions for another 
place. It is, however, certain, that as long as we deny 
the former, and affirm the latter, we must bewilder our- 
selves, whenever we would pierce into the adyta of causa- 
tion ; and ail that laborious conjecture can do, is to fill 
up the gaps of fancy. Under that despotism of the eye 
(the emancipation from which Pythagoras by his numeral^ 
and Plato by his musical, symbols, and both by geomet- 
ric discipline, aimed at, as the first rr^cncudeviixQv of the 
mind) — under this strong sensuous iniiuence, we are 
restless, because invisible thmgs are not the objects of 
virion ;. and metaphysical systems, for the most part, be- 
come popular, not for their truth, but in proportion as 
they attribute to causes a susceptibility of being see?2, if 
only our visual organs were sufficientl}^ powerful. 

From a hundred possible confutations, let one suffice. 
According to this system, the idea or vibration a from the 
external object A becomes associable with the idea or 
vibration m from the external object M, because the 
oscillation a propagated itself so as to re-produce the 
oscillation rn. But the original impression from M was 
essentially different from the impression A : unless, there- 
lore, different causes may produce the same effect, the vi- 


bration a could never produce the vibration m i and this* 
therefore, could never be the means by which a and m 
are associated. To understand this, the attentive reader 
need only be reminded, that the ideas are themselves, 
in Hartley's system, nothing more than their appropri- 
ate configurative vibrations. It is a mere delusion of the 
iancy to conceive the pre-existence of the ideas, in any 
chain of association, as so many differently coloured 
billiard-balls in contact, so that when an object, the bil- 
liard-stick, strikes the first or white ball, the same motion 
propagates itself through the red, green, blue, black, 
Lc. and sets the whole in motion. No ! we must sup- 
pose the very same force, which constitutes the white 
ball, to constitute the red or black ; or the idea of a cir- 
cle to constitute the idea of a triangle ; which is impossi- 

But it may be said, that, by the sensations from the 
objects A and M, the nerves have acquired a disposition 
to the vibrations a and m, and therefore a need only be 
repeated in order to reproduce m. Now we will grant, 
for a moment, the possibility of such a disposition in a 
material nerve ; which yet seems scarcely less absurd 
than to say, that a weather-cock had acquired a habit of 
turning to the east, from the wind having been so long in 
that quarter : for if it be replied, that we must take in 
the circumstance of ///e, what then becomes of the me- 
chanical philosophy ? And what is the nerve, but the 
flint which the wag placed in the pot as the first ingredient 
of his stone-broth, requiring only salt, turnips, and mutton, 
for the remainder ! But if we waive this, and presup- 
pose the actual existence of such a disposition, two cases 
are possible. Either, every idea has its own nerve and 
correspondent oscillation, or this is not the case. If the 
latter be the truth, we should gain nothing by these dis- 
positions ; for then, every nerve having several disposi- 
tions, when the motion of any other nerve is propagated 
into it, there will be no ground or cause present, why ex- 
actly the oscillation ?/i should arise, ra^ther than any other 
to which it was equally predisposed. But if we take 
the former, and let e\ery idea have a nerve of its owrh, 
then every nerve must be capable of propagating its mo- 
tioa iuto many other nerves j and again, there is no rea- 


son assignable, why the vibration m should arise, rathet 
than any oiher ad libitum. 

It is fashionable to smile at Hartley's vibrations and 
vibratiuncles ; and his work has been re-edited bjr 
Priestley, vrith the omission of the material hypothesis. 
But Hartley was too great a man, too coherent a thinker, 
for this to have been done, either consistently or to any 
wise purpose. For all other parts of his system, as far 
as they are peculiar to that system, once removed from 
their mechanical basis, not only lose their main support, 
but the very motive which led to their adoption. Thus 
the principle oi contemporaneity^ which Aristotle had made 
the common condition of all the laws of association, Hart- 
ley was constrained to represent as being itself the sole 
law. For to what law can the action of material atoms 
be subject, but that of proximity in place? And to what 
law can their motions be subjected, but that of time ? 
Again, from this results inevitably, that the will, the rea- 
son, the judgment, and the understanding, instead of be- 
ing the determining causes of association, must needs be 
represented as its creatures, and among its mechanical 
effects. Conceive, for instance, a broad stream, winding 
through a mountainous country, with an indefinite number 
of currents, varying and running into each other accord- 
ing as the gusts chance to blow trom the opening of the 
mountains. The temporary union of several currents in 
one, so as to form the main current of the moment, would 
► present an accurate image of Hartley's theory of the will. 

Had this been really the case, the consequence would 
have been, that our whole life would be divided between 
the despotism of outward impressions, and that of sense- 
less and passive memory. Take his law in its highest 
abstraction and most philosophical form, viz. that every 
partial representation recalls the total representation of 
which it was a part ; and the law becomes nugatory, 
were it only from its universality. In practice it would, 
indeed, be mere lawlessness. Consider how immense 
must be the sphere of a total impression from the top of 
St. Paul's church ; and how rapid and continuous the se- 
ries of such total impressions, if, therefore, we suppose 
the absence of all interference of the will, reason, and 
judgment, one or other of two consequences must result. 
Either the ideas, (or relicts of such impression,) will eX'* 


aclly iiriitate the order of the impression itself, wbicli 
would be absolute delirium ; or any one part of that im- 
pression might recall any other part, and, (as from the 
law of continuity there must exist, in esery total impres- 
sion, some one or more parts, which are com.ponents of 
some other following impression, and soon ad infinitum,) 
any part of a7iy impression might recal any part of any 
other, without a cause present to determine ie.7iftnt should 
be For to bring in the will, or reason, as causes of their 
own cause, that is, at once causes and effects, can satisfy 
those only who, in their pretended evidences of a God, 
having, first, demanded organization as the sole cause and 
ground of intellect, will, then, coolly demand the pre- 
existence of intellect as the cause and ground-work of 
organization. There is, in truth, but one state to which 
this theory applies at all, namely, that of complete light- 
headedness ; and even to this it applies but partially, 
because the will and reason are, perhaps, never wholly 

A case of this kind occurred in a Catholic town in Ger 
many, a year or two before my arrival at Gotlingen, and 
had not then ceased to be a frequent subject of conversa 
tion. A young woman of four or five and twenty, who 
could neither read nor write, was seized with a nervous 
fever ; during which, according to the asseverations of all 
the priests and monks of the neighbourhood, she became 
possessed^ and, as it appeared, by a very learned devil. 
She continued incessantly talking Latin, Greek, and He- 
brew, in very pompous tones, and with most distinct enun- 
ciation. This possession was rendered more probable, by 
the known fact that she was, or had been, an heretic. 
Voltaire humourously advises the devil to decline all ac- 
quaintance with medical men ; and it would have been 
more to his reputation if he had taken this advice in the 
present instance. The case had attracted the particular 
attention of a young physician, and, by his statement, 
many eminent physiologists and psychologists visited the 
town and cross-examined the case on the spot. Sheets 
full of her raviiigs were taken down frbm her own mouth, 
and were found to consist of sentences coherent and in- 
telligible each for itself, but with little or no connectioi 
witli each other Of the Hebrew, a small portion only 
could be traced to the Bible ; the remainder seemed to 


be in the rabinical dialect. All trick or conspiracy was 
out of the question. Not only had the J'oung woman 
ever been an h trinl^ss, simple creature, but she was evi- 
dently labouring under a nervous fever. In the town in 
which she had been resident for many years, as a servant 
in differeni families, no solution presented itself. The 
young physician, however, determined to trace her past 
life step by step; for the patient herself was incapable 
of returning a rational answer. He, at length, succeed- 
ed in discovering the place where her parents had Jived ; 
travelled thither, found thetn dead, but an uncle hurviv- 
ing ; and from him learnt, that the patient had been cha- 
ritably taken by an old protestant pastor at nine years 
old, and had remained with him some years, even till 
the old man's death Of this pastor the uncle knew no- 
thing, but that he was a very good man. With great 
ditficulty, and after much search, our young medical phi- 
losopher discovered a niece of the pastor's, who had liv- 
ed with hiin as his house-keeper, and had inherited his 
effects. She remembered the girl ; related, that her ve- 
nerable uncle had been too indulgent, and could not bear 
to hear the girl scolded ; that she was willing to have 
kept her, but that, after her patron's death, the girl her- 
self refused to stay. Anxious inquiries were then, of 
course, made concerning the pastor's habits, and the so- 
lution of the phenomenon was soon obtained. For it 
appeared, that it had been the old man's custom for years, 
to walk up and down a passage of his house, into which 
the kitchen door opened, and to read to himself, with a 
loud voice, out of his favourite books. A considerable 
number of these were still in the niece's possession. She 
added, that he was a very learned man, and a great He- 
braist. Among the books were found a collection of rab- 
binical writings, together with several of the Greek and 
Latin fathers ; and the physician succeeded in identify- 
ing so many passages with those taken down at the young 
woman's bedside, that no doubt could remain in any ra- 
tional mind, concerning the true origin of the impressions 
made on her nervous system. 

This authenticated case furnishes both proof and in- 
^tanc*^, that relicks of sensation may exist, for an inde- 
finite time, in a latent state, in the very same order in 
which they were originally impressed ; and, as we caja- 


not rationally suppose the feverish state of the brain to 
act in any other way than as a stimulus, this fact, (and 
it would not be difficult to adduce several of the same 
kini!,) contributes to make it even probable, that all 
thousjhts are, in themselves imperishable; and that, 
if the intelligf nt faculty should be rendered rnore com- 
prehensive it would require only a different and appor- 
tioned organization, the body celestial instead of the body 
terrestrial^ to bring before every human soul the collec- 
tive experience of its whole past existence And this — 
this, perchance, is the dread book of judgment, in whose 
mysterious hieroglyphics every idle word is recorded ! 
Yea, in the very nature of a living spirit, it maybe more 
possible that heaven and earth should pass away, than 
that a single act, a single thought, should be loosened, or 
lost, from that living chain of causes, to all whose links, 
conscious or unconscious, the free will, our only absolute 
self^ is co-extensive and co-present. But not now dare 
I longer discourse of this, waiting for a loftier mood, 
and a nobler subject, warned from within and from 
without, that it is profanation to speak of these mysteries* 

TC?J linJirroTf (pavTacrS-fraiv, coj xaAcv t3 tr\i 5ixa»o(rbVTij irai crw(pjocruvnj ttjo- 
couTTov, xal Cii atf lairi^oi are ja^oi «toj xaXa. Tov 70,^ ofujvra rrfoj t6 
ejc6/x£vov o"Li77fv» xal o^oiov Troi-ncraMfvov 6i\ ittiPolWuv rn {q' bv 'ya^ av ttcj- 
TTOTJ iJSiv "O^S-aXjjioj IlXiov TiKiotidiM fin 'yr/Evh^ievoSy hS( to Ka\ov av Mtj 
^uxn /^^ "olXt) 7ivofiiv7i. Plotinus. 

* *' To those to whose imag-ination it has never been presented, how 
beautiful is the countenance of justi( e and wisdom ; and tiiat neither the 
morning- nor the evening' star are so fair. For, in ordt^r to direct the view 
arig-ht, it behoves that the beholder should have made himself congene- 
rous and similar to the object beheld. Never could the eye have beheld 
th*^ sun, had not its own e->sence l)een soliform," (thrit ?,s, pre-conjigured to 
light by a shnilnrily f]f ea^emre with thai of lighl^) "neither can a soul not 
beautiful attain to an intuition of beautv," 



Of the necessary cojisequeyices of the Hartlcian theory^ — Cff 
the original mistake or equivocation zchich procured ad- 
mission for the theory — Alemoria Technica, 

We will pass b}^ the utter incompatibility of such a law, 
(if law it may be called, which would itself be the slave 
of chances,) with even W\^i appearance of rationality for- 
ced upon us by the outward phenomena of human con-, 
duct, abstracted from our own consciousness. We will 
agree to forget this for the moment, in order to fix our 
attention on that subordination of tinal to efficient causes 
in the human being, which flows of necessity from the as- 
sumption, that the will, and with the will all acts of 
thought and attention, are parts and products of this blind 
mechanism, instead of being distinct powers, whose func- 
tion it is to control, determine, and modify the phantas- 
ma chaos of association. The soul becomes a mere ens 
logicum ; for as a real separable being, it would be more 
worthless and ludicrous, than the Grimalkins in the Cat- 
harpsichord, described in the Spectator. For these did 
form a part of the process ; but in Hartley's scheme the 
soul is present only to be pinched or stroked^ while the 
very squeals or purring are produced by an agency 
wholly independent and alien. It involves all the diffi- 
culties, all the incomprehensibility (if it be not indeed, 
c6r fjioiye 5jx?i, the absurdity) of intercommunion between 
substances that have no one property in common, with- 
out any of the convenient consequences that bribed the 
judgment to the admission of the dualistic hypothesis. 
Accordingly, this caput mortuum of the Hartleian process 
has been rejected by his followers, and the consciousness 
considered as a result^ as a tune, the common product of 
the breeze and the harp : though this again is the mere re- 
motion of one absurdity, to make way for another equally 
preposterous. For what is harmony but a mode of rela 
tion, the very esse of which is percipi ? An ens rationale, 
which presupposes the power, that by perceiving creates 
it ? The razor's ed^ge becomes a saw to the armed vision : 


and the delicious melodies of Purcell or Cimarosa miglit 
be disjointed stammerings to a hearer, whose partition of 
time should be a thousand times subtler thap ours. But 
this obstacle too let us imagine ourselves to have sur- 
mounted, and *' at one bound high overleap all bound !'* 
Yet, according to this hypothesis, the disquisition, to which 
I am at present soliciting the reader's attention, may be 
as truly said to be written by Saint Paul's church, as by 
me ; for it is the mere motion of my muscles and nerves : 
and these again are set in motion from external causes 
equally passive, which external causes stand themselves 
in interdependent connection with every thing that^xists 
or has existed. Thus the whole universe co-operates 
to produce the minutest stroke of every letter, save only 
that I myself, and I alone, have nothing to do with it, but 
merely the causeless and eff^ectless beholding of it when it 
is done. Yet scarcely can it be called a beholding ; for 
it is neither an act nor an effect ; but an impossible crea- 
tion of a sonicthing-notJiing out of its very contrary I It 
is the mere quick-silver plating behind a looking-glass ; 
and in this alone consists the poor worthless I ! The 
sum total of my moral and intellectual intercourse dis- 
solved into its elements are reduced to extension^ motion^ 
degrees of velocity^ and those diminished copies of con- 
figurative motion, which form what we call notions, and 
notions of notions. Of such philosophy well might But- 
ler say — 

" The metaphysics but a puppet motion 
That goes with screws, the notioQ of a notion ; 
The copy of a copy, and lame drauo^ht 
Unnaturally taken from a thought : 
That counterfeits all pantommiic tricks, 
And tuins the eyes, like an old crucifix; 
That counterchanges whatsoe'er it calls 
B' another name, and makes it true or false ; 
Turns truth to falsehood, falsehood into truth, 
By virtue of the Babylonian's tooth." 

Miscellaneous Thoughts. 

The inventor of the watch did not in reality invent it ; 
he only looked on, while the bhnd causes, the only true 
artists, were unfolding themselves. So must it have been 
too with my friend Allston, when he sketched his pic- 

Vol. I. 7 


ture of the dead man revived by the bones of the pro- 
phet Ehjah. r^j must it have been with Mr. Southey 
and Lord Byron, when the one fancied himself compos- 
ing his '' Roderick," and the other his " Childe Ha- 
rold." The same must hold good of all systems of phi- 
losophy ; of all arts, governments, wars by sea and by land; 
in short, of all things that ever have been or that ever 
will be produced. For, according to this system, it is not 
the affections and passions that are at work, in as far as they 
are s€7isations or thoughts. We only fancy ^ that we act from 
rational resolves, or prudent motives, or from impulses of 
anger, love, or generosity. In all these cases the real agent 
is Si soinething-nothing-every'thing^ which does all of which 
we know, and knows nothing of all that itself does. 

The existence of an infinite spirit, of an intelligent and 
holy will, must, on this system, be mere articulated mo- j 
tions of the air. For as the function of the human under- 
standing is no other than merely (to appear to itself) to 
combine and to apply the phaenomena of the association ; 
and as these derive all their reality from the primary 
sensations ; and the sensations again all their reality from 
the impressions ab extra ; a God not visible, audible, or 
tangible, can exist only in the sounds and letters that form 
his name and attributes. If in ourselves there be no such 
faculties as those of the will, and the scientific reason, we 
must either have an innate idea of them, which would 
overthrow the whole system, or we can have no idea at 
all. The process, by which Hume degraded the notion 
of cause and effect into a blind product of delusion and 
babit, into the mere sensation of proceeding life (nisus 
vitahs) associated with the images of the memory ; this 
same process must be repeated to the equal degradation 
jk>f e\evy fundamental idea in ethics or theology. 

Far, very far, am 1 from burthening with the odium of 
these consequences the moral characters of those who 
first formed, or have since adopted the system ! It is 
most noticeable-.<?f the excellent and pious Hartley, that in 
the proofs of the existence and attributes of God, with 
which his second volume commences, he makes no refer- 
ence to the principles or results of the first. Nay, he 
assumes, as his foundations, ideas which, if we embrace 
the doctrines of his first volume, can exist no where but in 
the vibrations of the ethereal medium common to the 


nerves and to the atmosphere. Indeed, the whole of the 
second volume is, with the fewest possible exceptions, in- 
dependent of his peculiar system. So true is it, that the 
faith, which saves and sanctifies, is a collective energy, a 
total act of the whole moral being ; that its living senso- 
rium is in the heart ; and that no errors of the understand- 
ing can be morally arraigned, unless they have proceed- 
ed from the heart. But wliether they be such, no man 
can be Certain in the case of another, scarcely, perhaps, 
even in his own. Hence it follows, by inevitable conse- 
quence, that man may perchance determine, 'v^hat is an 
heresy ; but God only can know, ijcJio is an heretic. It 
does not, however, by any means follow, that opinions 
fundamentally false are harmless. An hundred causes 
may co-exist to form one complex antidote. Yet the 
sting of the adder remains venomous, though there are 
many who have taken up the evil thing ; and it hurted 
them not ! Some indeed there seem to have been, in an 
unfortunate neighbour-nation at least, who have embra- 
ced this system with a full view of all its moral and re- 
ligious consequences ; some — 

-wbo deem themselves most free, 

When Ibey within this gross and visible sphere 
Chain down the winged thought, scoffing assent, 
Proud in their meanness ; and themselves they cheat 
With noisy emptiness of learned phrase, 
Their subtle fluids, impacts, essences, 
Self-working tools, uncaus'd effects, and all 
Those blink omniscients, those Almighty slaves. 
Untenanting Creation of its God ! 

Such men need discipline, not argument ; they must be 
made better men, before they can become wiser. 

The attention will be more profitably employed in at- 
tempting to discover and expose the paralogisms, by the 
magic of which such a faith could find admission into minds 
framed for a nobler creed. These, it appears to me, may 
be ^11 reduced to one sophism as their common genus ; the 
mistaking the conditions of a thing for its causes and es- 
sence ; and the process by which we arrive at the know- 
ledge of a faculty, for the faculty itself The air I 
breathe is the mdition of my bfe, not its cause. We 
could never have learnt that we had eyes but by the 


process ot seeing : yet haviag seen» we knovT tfiat the 
eyes must have pre-existed ia oruer to render the pro- 
cess of sight possible. Let us cross-examJDe Hartley's 
j:i erne unJer the guidance of this distinction ; and we 
shaii discover, that coDtemporaiieity Leibnitz's Lex Cam- 
tinm) is the limit and condition ot the laws of mind, itself 
bein^ rather a law of matter, at least oi pbaenomena cod- 
>.ldered as niateriaL At the atmost, it is to jhovzhi the 
iame as the law of gravitatioa is to loco-moiion. In 
ererj volantarj moTement we first couDienct gravita- 
tion, in order to avail oarselves of it. It must exist, that 
there may he a something to be counteracted, and which 
by its re-action, aids the force that is exerted to resist 
it. Let OS consider what we da when we leap. We 
drst reiist the gravitating power by an act purely vo- 
lantary, and then by another act. vcluntan in part, we 
vie]d to it in order to light on the spot which we had 
previonsly proposed to oarselves Now, let a man 
waicti his misid while he is composing; or, to take a 
-liil more common case, while be is trying to recollect 
^ name ; and be will find the process completely analo- 
^as. Most of my readers will have observed a small 
water insect on the surface of riTulets, which throws a 
' inqne-spotted shadow, firinged with prismatic colours, od 
the siiRDT bottom of the brook ; and will have noticed, 
how the little animal wins its way up against the stream, 
by alternate pulses of active and passive motion, now 
resistinsT the current, and now yielding to it in order to 
o^ather strength and a momentaryyv/crMm for a farther 
propulsion. This is no unapt emblem of the mind's self- 
experience in the act of thinking. There are evident- 
ly two powers at work, which relatively to each other 
are active and passive ; and this is not possible without 
an intermediate faculty, which is at once both active and 
passire. (In philosophical language, we roust denomi- 
nate this intermediate faculty in all its degrees and de- 
-terminations, the iMAGiirATioy. But in common lan- 
guage, and especially on the subject of poetry, we ap- 
propriate the name to a superior degree of the Acuity, 
joined to a superior voluntary cootrol over it.) 

Contemporaneity then, beii^ the common condition of 
afithe laws of association, and a component element in all 
ihe inateria subjecta, the parts of which arc to be ssic^- 


ciated, must needs be co-present with all. Nothing, 
therefore, can be more easy than to pass off on an incau- 
tious mind this constant companion of each, for the essen- 
tial substance of all. But if we appeal to our own con- 
sciousness, we shall find that even time itself, as the 
cause of a particular act of association, is distinct from 
contemporaneity, as the co7zc?zVionofcf/Z association. See- 
ing a mackarel, it may happen that I immediately think of 
gooseberries, because I at the same time ate mackarel 
with gooseberries as the sauce. The first syllable of the 
latter word, being that which had co-existed with the im- 
age of the bird so called, I may then think of a goose. 
In the next moment the image of a swan may arise before 
me, though I had never seen the two birds together. In 
the two former instances, I am conscious that their co- 
existence in time was the circumstance that enabled me 
to recollect them ; and equally conscious am I, that the 
latter was recalled to me by the joint operation of like- 
ness and contrast. So it is with cause and effect ; so too- 
with order. So am I able to distinguish whether it was 
proximity in time, or continuity in space, that occasioned 
me to recall B. on the mention of A They cannot be indeed 
separated from contemporaneity ; for that would be to se- 
parate them from the mind itself The act of conscious- 
ness is indeed identical with r/me, considered in its essence, 
(1 mean time perse, as contra-distinguished from our notion 
of time ; for this is always blended with the idea of space, 
which, as the contrary o^iime^ is therefore its measure.^ 
Nevertheless, the accident of seeing two objects at the 
same moment, acts as a distinguishable cause from that of 
having seen them in the same place : and the true prac- 
tical general law of association is this ; that whatever 
makes certain parts of a total impression more vivid or 
distinct than the rest, will determine the mind to recall 
these, in preference to others equally linked together by 
the common condition of contemporaneity, or (what I 
deem a more appropriate and philosophical term) of con- 
tinuity. But the will itself, by confining and intensify ing"*^' 

* I am aware, that this word occurs neither in Johnson''s Dictionary nor 
m any classical writer. But the word, " tf) inlemW'' which N^vvtori ami 
©thers before him employ in this sense, is now so cornyjletely appropriated 
lo another meaning", that 1 coukl not use it without ambiguity : v/hile to 
^'jiruphraae the sense, as bv render inicnsej ^"fould .often, bi-eak up the jcrv- 


the attention, may arbitrarily give vividness or distinctness 
to any object whatsoever ; and from hence we may de- 
duce the uselessness, if not the absurdity, of certain recent 
schemes, which promise an artificial memory^ but which 
in reality can only produce a confusion and debasement 
of the/cx7ic//. Sound logic, as the habitual subordination 
of the individual to the species, and of the species to the 
genus ; philosophical knowledge of facts under the rela- 
tion of cause and effect ; a cheerful and communicative 
temper, that disposes us to notice the similarities and con- 
trasts of things, that we may be able to illustrate the one 
by the other ; a quiet conscience ; a condition free from 
anxieties ; sound health, and, above all, (as far as relates 
to passive remembrance,) a healthy digestion ; these are 
the best — these are the only Arts of Memory. 

tence, and destroy that harmony of the position of the words with the logi- 
cal position of the thoughts, which is a beauty in all composition, and more 
especially desirable in a close philosophical investigation. I have there- 
fore hazarded the word vnitnsi/y ; tiliough 1 confess it sounds uncouth tft 
cwy owo ©au. 



The system of Dualism, introduced by Des Cartes — Re- 
fined Jirst by Spinoza^ and after awards by Leibnitz, into 
the doctrine of Harmonia proestabilita — Hylosoism — Ma- 
terialism — Neither of these systems, on any possible theory 
of association, supplies or supersedes a theory of percep- 
tion, or explains the formation of the associable. 

To the best of my knowledge, Des Cartes was the first 
philosopher, who introduced the absolute and essential he- 
terogeneity of the soul as intelligence, and the body as mat- 
ter. The assumption, and the form of speaking, have re- 
mained, though the denial of all other properties to matter 
but that of extension, on which denial the whole system of 
dualism is grounded, has been long exploded. For since 
impenetrabiUty is intelligible only as a mode of resistance, 
its admission places the essence o^ matter in an act or pow- 
er, which it possesses in common with spirit ; and body and 
spirit are therefore no longer absolutely heterogeneous,- 
but may, without any absurdity, be supposed to be different 
modes or degrees in perfection, of a^common substratum. 
To this possibility, however, it was not the fashion to ad- 
vert. The soul was a thinking substance ; and body a 
space-filling substance. Yet the apparent action of each 
on the other pressed heavy on the philosopher, on the 
one hand ; and no less heavily, on the other hcmd, pressed 
the evident truth, that the law of casuality holds only be- 
tween homogeneous things, i.e. thins^s having some com- 
mon property, and cannot extend from one world into 
another, its opposite. A close analysis evinced it to be 
no less absurd, than the question, whether a man's aifection 
for his wife lay North-east or South-west of the love he 
bore towards his child ? Leibnitz's doctrine of a pre-esta» 
blished harmony, which he certainly borrowed from Spi- 
noza, who had himself taken the hint from Des Cartes's 
animal machines, was in its common interpretation too 
strange to survive the inventor — too repugnant to our 
eommon sense (which is not indeed entitled to a judicial 
voice in the courts of scientific philosophy -^ but whos^ 


whispers still exert a strong secret influence.) Even 
Wolf, the admirer, and illustrious systematizer of the Le- 
ibnitzian doctrine, contents himself with defending the 
possibility of the idea, but does not adopt it as a part of 
the edilice. 

The hypothesis of Hylozoism, on the other side, is the 
death of all rational physiology, and, indeed, of all phy- 
sical science ; for that requires a limitation of terms, and 
cannot consist with the arbitrary power of multiplying 
attributes by occult qualities. Besides, it answers no 
purpose ; unless, indeed, a difficulty can be solved by 
multiplj'ing it, or that we can acquire a clearer notion 
of our soul, by being told that we have a million souls, 
and that every atom of our bodies has a soul of its own. 
Far more prudent is it to admit the difficulty once for 
all, and then let it lie at rest. There is a sediment, in- 
deed, at the bottom of the vessel, but all the water above 
it is clear and transparent. The Hylozoist only shakes 
it up, and renders the whole turbid. 

But it is not either the nature of man, or the duty of 
the philosopher, to despair, concerning any important 
problem, until, as in the squaring of the circle, the impos- 
sibility of a solution has been demonstrated. How the 
esse assumed as originally distinct from the scire, can 
ever unite itself with it ; how being can transform itself 
into a knorving, becomes conceivable on one only condi- 
tion ; namely, if it can be shown that the vis representa^ 
tiva, or the sentient, is itself a species of being; i. e. 
either as a property or attribute, or as an hy^postasis or* 
self subsistence. The former is, indeed, the assumption 
f;f materialism ; a system which could not but be patroni- 
zed by the philosopher, if only it actually performed 
what it promises. But how any affection from without 
can metamorphose itself into perception or will, the ma- 
terialist has hitherto left, not only as incomprehensible as 
he found it, but has aggravated it into a comprehensible 
absurdity. For, grant that an object from without could 
act upon the conscious self, as on a consubstantial object ; 
yet such an affection could only engender something 
homogeneous with itself Motion could only propagate 
motion. Matter has no inward. We remove one slir- 
face but to meet with another. We can but divide a par- 
ticle into particles ^ and each atom comprehends in ite^ 


the properties of the material universe. Let any re- 
flecting mind make the experiment of explaining to itself 
the evidence of our sensuous intuitions, from the hypo- 
tliesis that in any given perception there is a something 
which has been communicated to it by an impact or an 
impression ab extra. In the first place, by the impact 
on the percepient or ens representans, not the object 
itself, but only its action or effect, will pass into the same. 
Not the iron tongue, but its vibrations pass into the me- 
tal of the bell. Now in our immediate perception, it is 
not the mere power or act of the object, but the object 
itself, which is immediately present. We might, indeed, 
attempt to explain this result by a chain of deductions and 
conclusions ; but that, first, the very faculty of deducing 
and concluding would equally demand an explanation ; 
and, secondly, that there exists, in fact, no such interme- 
diation by logical notions, such as those of cause and 
effect. It is the object itself, not the product of a syllo- 
gism, which is present to our consciousness. Or would 
we explain this supervention of the object to the sensa- 
tion, by a productive faculty set in motion by an im- 
pulse ; still the transition, into the percepient, of the ob- 
ject itself, from w^hich the impulse proceeded, assumes a. 
power that can permeate and wholly possess the soul, 

" And, like a God, by spiritual art. 
Be all iu all, and all in every part." 


And how came the percepient here ? And what is become 
of the wonder-promising matter, that was to perform all 
these marvels by force of mere figure, weight, and mo- 
tion ? The most consistent proceeding of the dogmatic 
materialist is to fall back into the common rank of soul- 
and-hodyists ; to affect the mysterious, and declare the 
whole process a revelation given, and not to be under- 
stood, which it would be profane to examine too closely. 
Datur non intelligitur. But a revelation unconfirmed by 
miracles, and a faith not commanded by the conscience, 
a philosopher may venture to pass by, without suspect- 
ing himself of any irreligious tendency. 


Thus, as materialism has been generally taught, it is 
utterly unintelligible, and owes all its proselytes to the 
propensity so common among men, to mistake distinct 
images for clear conceptions ; and, vice versa, to reject 
as inconceivable whatever from its own nature is unima- 
ginable. But as soon as it becomes intelligible, it ceases 
to be materialism. In order to explain thinking, as a ma- 
terial phenomenon, it is necessary to refine matter into a 
mere modification of intelligence, with the two-fold func- 
tion (ji appearing dind perceiving. Even so did Priestley . 
in his controversy with Price ! He stript matter of all its 
material properties ; substituted spiritual powers, and 
when we expected to find a body, behold ! we had nothing 
but its ghost! the apparition of a defunct substance ! 

I shall not dilate further on this subject: because it will 
(if God grant health and permission) be treated of at 
large, and systematically, in a work, which I have many 
years been preparing, on the Productive Logos human 
and divine ; with, and, as the introduction to, a full com- 
mentary on the Gospel of St. John To make myself in- 
telligible as far as my present subject requires, it will be 
sufficient briefly to observe — 1. That all association de- 
mands and presupposes the existence of the thoughts and 
images to be associated. — 2. The hypothesis of an exter- 
nal world exactly correspondent to those images or modi- 
fications of our own being, which alone (according to this 
system,) we actually behold, is as thorough idealism as 
Berkeley's, inasmuch as it equally (perhaps, in a more 
perfect degree) removes all reality and immediateness of 
perception, and places us in a dream-world of phantoms 
and spectres, the inexplicable swarm and equivocal gene- 
ration of motions in our own brains. 3. That this hypo- 
thesis neither involves the explanation, nor precludes the 
necessity, of a mechanism an€l co-adequate forces in the 
percepient, which at the more than magic touch of the 
impulse from without, is to create anew for itself the cor- 
i'cspondent object. The formation of a copy is not solv- 
ed by the mere pre-existence of an original : the copyist 
of Raphael's Transfiguration must repeat more or less 
perfectly the process of Raphael It would be ep-^y to 
explain a thought from the image on the retina, anc: that 
from the geometry of ii^ht, if this very light did n-.)i pre- 
sent the very same difficulty. We might as rationally 


chant the Brahmin creed of the tortoise that supported 
the bear, that supported the elephant, that supported the 
world, to the tune of " This is the house that Jack built.'' 
The sic Deo placitum est we all admit as the sufficient 
cause, and the divine goodness as the sufficient reason ; 
Itut an answer to the whence ? and why ? is no answer to 
the how ? which alone is the physiologist's concern. It 
is a mere sophisma pigrum, and (as Bacon hath said) the 
arrogance of pusillanimity which lifts up the idol of a 
mortal's fancy, and commands us to fall down and worship 
it, as a work of divine wisdom, an ancile or palladium 
fallen from heaTen By the very same argument the sup-<- 
porters of the Ptolemaic system might have rebuffed the 
Newtonian, and pointing to the sky with self-complacent^ 
grin, have appealed to common sense, whether the sun did 
not move, and the earth stand still. 

* " And coxcombs vanquish Berkeley with a grin..*' Pop^* 



Js philosophy possible as a science, and what are its con- 
ditions ? — Giordano Bruno — Literary aristocracy^ or ike 
existence of a tacit compact among the learned as a pri» 
vileged order — The authors obligations to the Mystics ; 
— to Emanuel Kant — The difference between the letter 
and the spirit of Kanfs writings, and a vindication of 
prudence in the teaching of philosophy — Fichte^s attempt 
to complete the critical system — Its partial success and 
ultimate failure — Obligations to Schelling ; and, among 
English writers, to Saumarez, 

After I had successively studied in Ibe schools of 
Locke, Berkeley, Leibnitz, and Hartley, and could find 
in neither of them an abiding place for my reason, I be- 
gan to ask myself, is a system of philosophy, as different 
from mere history and historic classification, possible ? If 
possible, what are its necessary conditions ? I was for a 
while disposed to answer the first question in the negative, 
and to admit that the sole practicable employment for 
the human mind v/as to observe, to collect, and to classify. 
But I soon felt, that human nature itself fought up against 
this wilful resignation of intellect ; and as soon did 1 find, 
that the scheme, taken with all its consequences, and 
cleared of all inconsistencies, was not less impracticable, 
than contra-natural. Assume, in its full extent, the position, 
nihil in intellectu quod non prius in sensa, without Leib- 
nitz's qualifying prceter ipsum intellectum, and in the same 
sense in which it was understood by Hartley and Con- 
dillac, and what Hume had demonstratively deduced 
from this concession concerning cause and effect, will ap- 
ply with equal and crushing force to all the* other eleven 
categorical forms, and the logical functions corresponding 
to them. How can we make bricks without straw ? Or 

* Videlicet ; quantity, quality, relation, and mode, each consisting of 
three subdivisions. Vide Kritik der reineu Vernunft, p, 95, and 106. 
Sec too the judicioui remarks in Locke and Hume. 


build without cement? We learn all things indeed by oc- 
casion of experience ; but the very facts so learnt, force 
us inward on the antecedents, that must be pre-supposed 
in order to render experience itself possible The first 
book of Locke's Essays (if the supposed error, which it 
labours to subvert, be not a mere thing of straw ; an ab- 
surdity, which, no man ever did, or, indeed, ever could 
believe) is formed on a S(^(pio-fia Erff o^nT-naiwr, and involves 
the old mistake of cum hoc : ergo, propter hoc 

The term Philosophy, defines itself as an affectionate 
seeking after the truth ; but Truth is the correlative of 
Being. This again is no way conceivable, but by assum- 
ing as a postulate, that both are, ab initio, identical and co- 
inherent ; that intelligence and being are reciprocally 
each others Substrate. I presumed that this was a pos- 
sible conception (i. e. that it involved no logical inconso- 
nance) from the length of time during which the scholas- 
tic definition of the Supreme Beings as actus purissimus 
sine ulla potentialitate, was received in the schools of 
Theology, both by the Pontifician and the Reformed, di- 
vines. The early study of Plato and Plotinus, with the 
commentaries and the Theologia Platonica, of the illus- 
trious Florentine ; of Proclus, and Gemistius Pletho : 
and, at a later period, of the '' De Immense et Innu- 
merabili," and the *' De la causa, principio et uno,^^ of 
the philosopher of Nola, who could boast of a Sir Philip 
Sidney, and Fulke Greville among his patrons, and whom 
the^olaters of Rome burnt as an atheist in the year 
1660 ; had all contributed to prepare my mind for the re- 
ception and welcoming of the Cogito quia sum, et sum 
quia Cogito ; a philosophy of seeming hardihood, but 
certainly the most ancient, and therefore presumptively, 
the most natural. 

Why need I be afraid ? Say rather how dare I be 
ashamed of the Teutonic theosophist, Jacob Behmen ? 
Many, indeed, and gross were his delusions ; and such as 
furnish frequent and ample occasion for the triumph of 
the learned over the poor ignorant shoemaker, who had 
dared to think for himself. But while we remember that 
these delusions were such as might be anticipated from 
his utter want of all intellectual discipline, and from his 
ignorance of rational psychology, let it not be forgotten 
that the latter defect he had in common with the most 

Vol. I, 8 


learned theologians of his age. Neither with books, nor 
with book-learned men was he conversant. A meek and 
shy quietist, his intellectual powers were never stimu- 
lated into fev'rous energy by crowds of proselytes, or by 
the ambition of proselyting. Jacob Behmen was an en- 
thusiast, in the strictest sense, as not merely distinguished, 
but as contra-distinguished, from a fanatic. While I in 
part translate the following observations from a contem- 
porary writer of the Continent, let me be permitted to 
premise, that I might have transcribed the substance 
from memoranda of my own, which were written many 
years before his pamphlet was given to the world ; and 
that I prefer another's words to my own, partly as a tri- 
bute due to priority of publication, but still more from 
the pleasure of sympathy, in a case where coincidence 
only was possible. 

Whoever is acquainted with the history of philosophy, 
during the two or three last centuries, cannot but admit, 
Uiat there appears to have existed a sort of secret and ta- 
cit compact among the learned, not to pass beyond a cer- 
tain limit in speculative science. The privilege of free 
thought, so highly extolled, has at no time been held va- 
lid in actual practice, except within this limit ; and not 
a single stride beyond it has ever been ventured without 
bringing obloquy on the transgressor. The few men 
of genius among the learned class, who actually did 
overstep this boundary, anxiously avoided the appearance 
of having so done. Therefore, the true depth of sciRice, 
and the penetration to the inmost centre, from which all 
the lines of knowledge diverge, to their ever distant cir- 
cumference, was abandoned to the illiterate and the sim- 
ple, whom unstilled yearning, and an original ebulliency 
of spirit, had urged to the investigation of the indwelling 
and living ground of all things. These, then, because 
their names had never been inrolled in the guilds of the 
learned, were persecuted by the registered livery-men as 
interlopers on their rights and privileges. All, without 
distinction, were branded as fanatics and phantasts ; not 
only those whose wild and exorbitant imaginations had 
actually engendered only extravagant and grotesque phan- 
tcsms, and whose productions were, for the most part, poor 
aopies and gross caricatures of genuine inspiration ; but 
the truly inspired likewise, the originals themselves ! And 


this for no other reason but because they were the wi- 
learned men of humble and obscure occupations. When, 
and from whom among the Hterati by profession, have we 
ever heard the divine doxology repeated, " 1 thank thee 
O Father ! Lord of Heaven and Earth ! because thou 
hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and 
hast revealed them unto babes ?" No ! the haughty 
priests of learning, not only banished from the schools and 
marts of science all who had dared draw living waters from 
the fountain, but drove them out of the very temple, 
which, mean time, *' buyers, and sellers, and money 'Chan- 
gers^^ were suffered to make *' a den of thieves,''^ 

And yet it would not be easy to discover any substan- 
tial ground for this contemptuous pride in those literati, 
who have most distinguished themselves by their scorn 
of Behmen, De Thoyras, George Fox, &,c. ; unless if 
be, that they could write orthographically, make smooth 
periods, and had the fashions of authorship almost literal- 
ly at their fingers^ ends, while the latter, in simplicity of 
soul, made their words immediate echoes of their feel- 
ings. Hence the frequency of those phrases among them, 
which have been mistaken for pretences to immediate 
inspiration ; as for instance, " it zvas delivered unto me,^* 
" / strove not to speak,^^ " I said, I will be silent,"*"* " b^U 
the TiDord was in heart as a burtiing Jire,^"' ^^ and I could 
not forbear,''^ Hence, too, the unwillingness to give of- 
fence ; hence the foresight, and the dread of the cla- 
mours, which would be raised against them, so frequent- 
ly avowed in the writings of these men, and expressed, 
as was natural, in the words of the only book with which 
they were familiar. '* Woe is me that I am become a 
man of strife, and a man of contention — I love peace : 
the souls of men are dear unto me : yet because 1 seek 
for light every one of them doth curse me !" O ! it 
requires deeper feeling, and a stronger imagination, than 
belong to most of those to whom reasoning and fluent 
expression have been as a trade learnt in boyhood, to 
conceive with what might, with what inward strivings and 
commotion, the perception of a new and vital truth 
takes possession of an uneducated man of genius. His 
meditations are almost inevitably employed on the eter* 
nal, or the everlasting ; for " the world is not his friend, 
nor the world's law.'"* Need we then be surprised^ that 


under an excitement at once so strong and so unusual, 
the man's body should sympathize with the struggles" of 
his mind ; or that he should «t times be so far deluded 
as to mistake the tumultuous sensations of his nerv^es, 
and the co-existing spectres of his fancy, as parts or 
symbols of the truths which were opening on him ? It 
has indeed been plausibly observed, that in order to de- 
rive any advantage, or to collect any intelligible meaning, 
from the writings of these ignorant mystics, the reader 
must bring with him a spirit and judgment superior to 
that of the writers themselves : 

** And what he brings, what needs he elsewhere seek?" 

Paradise Regained. 

—A sophism, which I fully agree with Warburton, is un- 
worthy of Milton ; how much more so of the awful per- 
son, in whose mouth he has placed it ? One assertion I 
will venture to make, as suggested by my own experi- 
ence, that ther'j exist folios on the human understanding, 
and the nature of man, which would have a far juster 
claim to their hidi rank and celebrity, if in the whole 
huge volume there could be found as much fulness of 
heart and intellect as burst forth in many a simple page 
of George Fox, Jacob Behmen, and even of Behmen's 
commentator, the pious and fervid William Law. 

The feeling of gratitude which 1 cherish towards 
these men has caused me to digress further than I had 
foreseen or proposed ; but to have passed them over in 
an historical sketch of my literary life and opinions, would 
have seeiued to me like the denial of a debt, the con- 
cealment of a boon. For the writings of these mystics 
acted in no slight degree to prevent my mind from being 
imprisoned within the outline of any single dogmatic 
system. They contributed to keep alive the heart in 
the head ; gave me an indistinct, yet stirring and work- 
ing presentment, that all the products of the mere re- 
^flective faculty partook of death, and were as the rat- 
tling twigs and sprays in winter, into which a sap was 
yet to be propelled from some root to which I had not 
})enetrated, if they were to afford my soul either food or 
shelter. If they were too often a moving cloud of smoke 
to me by day, yet they were always a pillar of tire 
throughout the night, during my wanderings through the 


wilderness of doubt, and enabled me to skirt, without 
crossing, the sandy deserts of utter unbelief. That the 
system is capable of being conv^erted into an irreligious 
Pantheism, I well know. The Ethics of Spinoza may, 
or may not, be an instance. But, at no time could I be- 
lieve, that in itself, and essentially^ it is incompatible with 
religion, natural or revealed : and, now I am most 
thoroughly persuaded of the contrary. The writings of 
the illustrious sage of Konigsberg, the founder of the 
Critical Philosophy, more than any other work, at once 
invigorated and disciplined my understanding. The ori- 
ginality, the depth, and the compression of the thoughts; 
the novelty and subtlety, yet solidity and importance, of 
the distinctions ; the adamantine chain of the logic ; and, 
I will venture to add, (paradox as it will appear to those 
who have taken their notion of Immanuel Kant, from 
Reviewers and Frenchmen,) the clearness and evidence 
of the '' Critique of the Pure Reason ;" of the Judg- 
ment ; of the " Metaphisical Elements of Natural 
Philosophy," and of his " Religion within the bounds 
OF Pure Reason," took possession of me as with a 
giant's hand. After fifteen years familiarity with them, 
1 still read these and all his other productions with un- 
diminished delight and increasing admiration. The few 
passages that remained obscure to me, after due efforts 
of thought, (as the chapter on original apperception,) 
and the apparent contradictions which occur, 1 soon 
found were hints and insinuations referring to ideas, 
which Kant either did not think it prudent to avow, or 
which he considered as consistently left behind in a pure 
analj'sis, not of human nature in toto, but of the specu- 
lative intellect alone. Here, therefore, he was con- 
strained to commence at the point of reflection, or natural 
consciousness : while in his moral system he was per- 
mitted to assume a higher ground (the autonomy of the 
will) as a postulate deducible from the unconditional 
command, or (in the technical language of his school) 
the categorical imperative, of the conscience, lie had 
been in imminent danger of persecution during the reign 
of the late king of Prussia, that stri:nge compound of 
lawless debauchery, and priest-ridden superstition : and 
it is probable that he had little inchnation, in his old age. 
Id act over again the fortunes and hair-breadth escapes^ 


of Wolf. The expulsion of the first among Kant's dis- 
ciples, who attempted to complete his system, from the 
university of Jena, with the confiscation and prohibition 
of the obnoxious work, by the joint efforts of the courts 
of Saxony and Hanover, supplied experimental proof, 
that the venerable old man's caution was not groundless. 
In spite, therefore, of his own declarations, 1 could never 
believe, it was possible for him to have meant no more 
by his Noume'non^ or Thing in Itself, than his mere 
words express ; or, that in his own conception he con- 
fined the whole plastic power to the forms of the intel- 
lect, leaving for the external cause, for the materiale of 
our sensations, a matter without form, which is doubtless 
inconceivable. 1 entertained doubts likewise, whether, 
in his own mind, he even Icjid all the stress, which he 
appears to do, on the moral postulates. 

An IDEA, in the highest sense of that word, cannot be 
conveyed but by a syinbol ; and, except in geometry, all 
symbols of necessity involve an apparent contrr.diction. 
4)wvticrf SuviToicTcv : and for those who could not pierce through 
this symbolic husk, hii writings were not intended* 
Questions which can not be fiill}^ answered without ex- 
posing the respondent to personal danger, are not enti» 
tied to a fair answer ; and yet to say this openly, would 
in many cases furnish the very advantage which the ad- 
versary is insidiously seeking after. Veracitv does not 
consist in saying, but in the intention of communicating 
truth ; and the philosopher who cannot utter the whole 
truth without conveying falsehood, and at the same time, 
perhaps, exciting the most malignant passions, is con- 
strained to express himself either mythically or equivo* 
cally. When Kant, therefore, was importuned to settle 
the disputes of his commentators himself, by declaring 
what he meant, how could he decline the honours of 
martyrdom with less offence than by simply replying, 
* 1 meant what I said, and at the age of near four score, 
I have something else, and more important to do, than to 
write a commentary on my own works." 

Fichte's Wissenschaftslehre, or Lore of Ultimate Sci- 
ence, was to add the key-stone of the arch ; and by com- 
mencing with an aci, instead of a thi^ig or substance^ 
Fichte assuredly gave the first mortal blow to-Spinozism, 
SIS taught by Spinoza himself : and supplied the idea of 


a system truly metaphysical, and of a metaphysique truly 
systematic : (i. e. having its spring and principle within 
itself,) But this fundamental idea he overbuilt with a 
heavy mass of mere notions, and psychological acts of ar- 
bitrary reflection. Thus his theory degenerated into a 
crude egoismus,* a boastful and hyperstoic hostility to 
Nature, as lifeless, godless, and altogether unholy : 
while his religion consisted in the assumption of a mere 
ORDO ORDINANS, wbich we were permitted exoterice to 
call God ; and his ethics in an ascetic, and almost monk- 
ish mortification of the natural passions and desires. 

In Schelling's ** Natur-Philosophie," and the " Sys- 

a genial coincidence with much Ihat 1 had toiled out for 
myself, and a powerful assistance in what I had yet to do^ 

* The following- burlesque on the Fichtean Egoismus mar, perhaps, 
be amusing- to the few who have studied the system, and to' those who 
are unacquainted with it, may convey as tolerable a likeness of Fichte's 
idealism as can be expected trom anavowed c?.ricature. 

The categroricai imoerative, or the annunciation of the new Teutonic 
God, EraENKAinAN : adithyrambic Ode, by Qukkkopf Von Kluf- 
STicf, Grammarian, and Subrector inGjmnasio.**** 

Eu ! Dei vices g-erens, ipse Divus, 

(Speak English, Friend !) the God Imperativus, 

Here on this market-cross aloud I cry : 

I, I, J! I itself I ! 

The form and the substance, the what and the why. 

The when and the where, and the low and the high, 

The inside and outside, the earth and tlie sky, 

I, vou, and he, and he, you and I, 

All souls and all bodies are I itself I ! 

AllI itself I ! 

(Fools ! a truce with this startling .') 

All my I ! all my I ! 
He's a heretic dog who but adds Be'tt} Martin I 
Thus cried the God with high imperial tone : 
In robe of stiffest state, that scoff M at beauty, 
A pronoun-verb imp-^rative he shone — 
Then substantive and plural-singular grown 
He thus spake on ! Behold in I alone 
(For ethics boast a syntax of their own) 
Or if in ye, yet as I doth depute ye. 
In O ! I, you, the vocative of duty I 
I of the world's whole Lexicon the root .' 
Of the whole universe of touch, sound, sight 
The genitive and ablative to boot : 
The ac usative of wrong, the nom'native of rightf 
And in all cases the case absolute ! 
Self-construed, I all other moods decline ; 
Imperative, from nothing we derive us \ 
Yet as a supr-r-postulate of mine, 
Unconstrued antecedence I assign 
To X, Y, Z, the God infinitivu^ r 


I have introduced this statement, as appropriate to the 
narrative nature of this sketch ; yet rather in reference 
to tlie work which I have announced in a preceding page, 
than to niy present subject. It would be but a mere act 
of justice to tnyself, were I to warn my future readers, 
that an identity of thought, or even similarity of phrase 
-will not be at all times a certain proof that the passage 
has been borrowed from ScheUing, or that the concep- 
tions were originally learnt from him. In this instance, 
as in the dramatic lectures of Schlegel to which i have 
before alluded,, from the same motive of self defence 
against the charge of plagiarism, many of the most strik- 
ing resemblances ; indeed, all the main and fundamental 
ideas, were born and matured in my mind before I had 
ever seen a single page of the German Philosopher^ and 
T might, indeed, affirm with truth, before the more im- 
portant works of Schelling had been written^ or at least 
made public. Nor is this coincidence at all to be w^on- 
dered at. We had studied in the same school ; been 
disciplined by the same preparatory philosophy, namely, 
the writings of Kant ; we had both equal obligations to 
the polar logic and dynamic philosophy of Giordano 
Bruno ; and Schelling has lately, and, as of recent acqui- 
sition, avowed that same affectionate reverence for the 
labours of Behmen, and other mysticS; which I had formed 
at a much earlier period. The coincidence of Schel- 
ling's system with certain general ideas of Behmen, he 
declares to have been mere coincidence ; while my obli- 
gations have been more direct. He needs give to Beh- 
men only feelings of sympathy ; while I owe him a 
debt of gratitude. God forbid ! that I should be sus- 
pected of a wish to enter into a rivalry with Schelling 
for the honours so unequivocally his right, not only as 
a great and original genius, but as the founder of the 
Philosophy of Nature, and as the most successful im- 
prover of the Dynamic System,* which, begun by Bru- 

* It would be an act of hi^h and almost criminal injustice to pass over 
in silence the name of Mr, Richard Salmahiz, a gentlemen equally well 
known as a medical man and as a philanthropist, but who demands notice 
on the present occasion as the author of" a new System of Physiolog-y" in 
two volumes octavo, published 1797 : and in 1312' of *' An Examination of 
the natural and artificial Systems of Philosophy which now prevail," in one 
volume octavo, entitled, '^ The Principles of physiolosrical and physical 
science." The latter work is not quite equal to the former in style or 
arrangement ; and there is a greater necessity of distinguishing the prin^ 


no, was re-introduced (in a more philosophical form, and 
freed from all its impurities and visionary accompani- 
ments) by Kant ; in whom it was the native and neces- 
sary growth of his own system. Kant's followers, howr 
ever, on whom (for the greater part) their master's 
cloak had fallen, without, or with a very scanty portion of, 
his spirit, had adopted his dynamic ideas only as a more 
refined species of mechanics. With exception of one or 
two fundamental ideas, which cannot be withheld from 
FiGHTE, to ScHELLiNG wc owe the Completion, and the 
most important victories, of this revolution in philosophy. 
To me it vnW be happiness and honor enough, should I 
succeed in rendering the system itself intelligible to my 
countrymen, and in the application of it to the most aw- 
ful of subjects for the most important of purposes. 
Whether a work is the offspring of a man's own spirit, 
and the product of original thinking, will be discovered 
by those who are its sole legimate judges, by better 
tests than the mere reference to dates. For readers in 
general, let whatever shall be found in this, or any 
future work of mine, that resembles, or coincides with, 
the doctrines of my German predecessor, though contem- 

ciples of the author's philosophy from his conjectures concerning colour, 
the atmospheric matter, comets, <&c. which, whether iust or erroneous, are 
by no means necessary consequences of that philosophy. Yet even in this 
department of this volume, which I regard as comparatively the inferior 
work, the reasonings by which Mr. Saumarez invalidates the immanence 
of an infinite power in any finite substance are the offspring of no common 
mind ; and the experiment on the expansibility of the air is at least plausi- 
ble and highly ingenious. But the merit, which will secure both to the 
book and to the writer a high and honorable name with posterity, consists 
in the masterly force of reasoning, and the copiousness of induction, with 
which he has assailed, and (in my opinion) subverted the tyranny of the 
mechanic system in physiology ; established not only the existence of final 
causes, but their necessity and efficiency in every system that merits the 
name of phylosophical ; and substituting life and progressive power, for 
the contradictory inert force, lias a right to be known and remembered as 
the first instaurator of the dynamic philosophy in England. The au- 
thor's views, as far as concers himself, are unborrowed and completely 
his own, as he neither possessed, nor do his writings discover, the 
least acquaintance with the works of Kant, in which the germs ofphyloso- 
phv exist, and his volumes were published many years before the full de- 
velopment of these germs bv Schelling. Mr. Saiimarez's detection of the 
Brunonian system was no fight or ordinary service at the time : and I 
scarcely remember in anv work on any subject a confutation so thorough- 
ly satisfactory. It is sufficient at this time to have stated the fact; as in 
the preHice to the work, which I have already announced on the Logos, I 
have exhibited in detail the merits of this writer and genuine philosopher, 
who needed onlv have taken his foundations somewhat deeper and widet" 
to have superseded a considerable part of my labour?. 


porary, be wholly attributed to him : provided, that the 
absence of distinct references to his books, which I could 
not at all times make with truth as designating citations 
or thoughts actually derived from him, and which, I 
trust, would, after this general acknowledgment, be super- 
fluous, be not charged on me as an ungenerous conceal- 
ment or intentional plagiarism. I have not indeed 
(eheu ! res angusta domi I) been hitherto able to pro- 
cure more than two of his books, viz. the first volume of 
his collected Tracts, and his System of Transcendental 
Idealism ; to which, however, I must add a small pam- 
phlet against Fichte, the spirit of which was to my feelings 
painfully incongruous with the principles, and which (with 
the usual allowance afforded to an antithesis) displayed 
the love of wisdom rather than the wisdom of love. I 
regard truth as a divine ventriloquist : I care not from 
whose mouth the sounds are supposed to proceed, if only 
the word? are audible and intelligible. *' Albeit, I 
must confess to be half in doubt, whether I should bring 
it forth or no, it being so contrary to the eye of the 
world, and the world so potent in most men's hearts, 
that I shall endanger either not to be regarded or not to 
be understood." — Milton : Reason of Church Government, 

And to conclude the subject of citation, with a cluster 
of citations, which ns taken from books not in common 
use, may contribute to the reader's amusement, as a volun- 
tary before a sermon. '' Dolet mihi quidem deliciis li- 
terarum inescatos subito jam homines adeo esse, praeser- | 
tim qui Christianos se profitentur, et legere nisi quod ' 
ad delectationem fiicit, sustineant nihil : unde et disci- 
plinas severiores et philosophia ipsa jam fere prorsus 
etiam a doctis negliguntur. Quod quidem propositura 
studiorum, nisi mature corrigitur, tarn magnum rebus in- 
commodum dabit, quam dedit Barbaries olim. Pertinax 
res Barbaries est, fateor : sed minus potest tamen, quam 
ilia molhties et persuasa prudejitia literarum, quae si 
ratione caret, sapiential virtutisque specie mortales misere 
circumducit. Succedet igitur, ut arbitror, baud ita 
multo post, pro rusticana seculi nostri ruditate captatrix 
ilia communiloqucjitia robur animi virilis omne, omnem 
virtutem masculam prot^igatura, nisi cavetur." 

Simon GRVNiEus, candido lectori, prefixed to the Latin 
translation of Plato, by Marsilius Ficiaus. Lugduni, 1 557. 


A too prophetic remark, which has been in fulfihnent 
from the year 1680 to the present, 1815. JV. B, By 
*' persuasa prudentia," Gryna^us means self-complacent 
common sense as opposed to science and philosophic rea- 

** Est medius ordo et velut equestris Tngeniorum qui- 
dem sagacium et rebus humanis commodorum, non tamen 
in primam magnitudinem patentium. Eorum homimim, ut 
i(a dicam, major annona est. Sedulum esse, nihil teme- 
re ioqui, assuescere labori, et imagine prudentiae et mo- 
destiae tegere angustiores partes captus dum exercitatio- 
nem et usum. quo isti in civilibus rebus pollent, pro natu* 
ra et magnitudine ingenn plerique accipiunt." 

Barclaii Argenis, p. 71. 

** As, therefore, physicians are many times forced to 
leave such methods of curing as themselves know to be 
fittest, and, being over-ruled by the sick man's impatience, 
are fain to try the best they can ; in like sort, consider- 
ing how the case dotli stand with the present age, full of 
tongue and weak of brain, behold we would, (if our sub' 
jecl permitted it J yield to the stream thereof That way 
we would be contented to prove our thesis, which, being 
the worse in itself, notwithstanding, is now, by reason of 
common imbecility, the fitter and likelier to be brook- 
ed." — Hooker. 

If this fear could be rationally entertained in the con- 
troversial age of Hooker, under the then robust discipline 
of the scholastic logic, pardonably may a writer of the 
present times anticipate a scanty audience for abstrusest 
themes, and truths that can neither be communicated nor 
received without effort of thought, as well as patience of 

•* Che s'io non erro al calcular de' punti, 

Par ch' Asinini Stella a noi predomini, 

E'l Somaro e'l castron si sian conginnti. 

II tempo d'Apuleio pin non si nomini : 

Che se allora uq sol Huom sembrava un Asino, 

Mille Asini a raiei di rassembran Huomini !" 

Di Salva-torRosa, Satir. I. 1, 10. 



d chapter of digression and anecdotes^ as an interlude 
preceding that on the nature and genesis of the imagi- 
nation or plastic pother — On pedantry and pedantic ex- 
pressions — Advice to young authors respecting publ'ca* 
tion — Various anecdotes of the author's literary life^ 
and the progress of his opinions in religion and 
politics. . 

• ** EsempJastic. The word is not in Johnson^ nor have 
I 7net with it elsewhere " Neither have I! I constructed 
it myself from the Greek words, tn fv nKaneiv i. e. to shape 
into one ; because, having to convey a new sen.«e, I 
thought that a new term would both aid the recollection 
of my meaning, and prevent its be^ng confounded with 
the usual import of the word imaginatiion. " But this is 
pedantry !^^ Not necessarily so, I hope. If I am not 
misinformed, pedantry consists in the use of words un- 
suitable to the time, place, and company. The language 
of the market would be in the schools as pedantic, though, 
it might not be reprobated by that name, as the language 
of the schools in the market. The mere man of the world, 
who insists that no other terms but such as occur in com* 
mon conversation should be employed in a scientific dis-^ 
quisition, and, with no greater precision, is as truly a 
pedant as the man of letters, who, either over-rating the 
acquirements of his auditors, or misled by his own fa- 
miliarity with technical or scholastic terms, converses at 
the wine-table with his mind fixed on his musaeum or Ia«4j| 
boratory ; even though the latter pedant, instead of de-K 
siring his wife to make the tea, should bid her add to thfi 
quant, sufif. of thea sinensis the oxyd of hydrogen satu-' 
rated with caloric. To use the colloquial, (and, in tiutb, 
somewhat vulgar,) metaphor, if the pedant of the cloys- 
ter, and the pedant of the lobby, both smetl equally of I ^ 
the shop, yet the odour from the Russian binding of good * 
old authentic-looking folios and quartos, is less annoying' ^ 
than the steams from the tavern or bagnio. Nay, though 


the pedantry of the scholar should betray a little osten- 
tation, yet a well-conditioned mind would more easily, 
methinks, tolerate the Jbx brush of learned vanity, than 
the sans culotterie of a contemptuous ignorance, that as- 
sumes a merit from mutilation in the self-consoling sneer 
at the pompous incumbrance of tails. 

The first lesson of philosophic discipline is to wean the 
student's attention from the degrees of things, which 
alone form the v^ocabulary of common life, and to direct 
it to the KIND, abstracted from degree. Thus the chemi- 
cal student is taught not to be startled at disquisitions on 
the heat in ice, or on latent and fixible liglit. In such 
discourse, the instructor has no other alternative than 
either to use old words with new meanings, (the plan 
adopted by Darwin in his Zoonomia,) or to introduce 
new terms, after the example of Linnaeus, and the framers 
of the present chemical nomenclature. The latter mode 
is evidently preferable, were it only that the former de- 
mands a two-fold exertion of thought in one and the same 
act. For the reader (or hearer) is required not only to 
learn and bear in mind thejnew definition ; but to unlearn, 
and keep out of his view, the old and habitual meaning ; 
a far more difficult and perplexing task, and for which 
the mere semblance of eschewing pedantry seems to me 
an inadequate compensation. Where, indeed, it is in our 
power to recall an appropriate term that had, without suf- 
ficient reason, become obsolete, it is doubtless a less evil 
to restore than to coin anew. Thus, to express in one 
word all that appertains to the perception considered as 
passive, and merely recipient, I have adopted from our 
elder classics the word sensuous ; because sensual is noi 
at present used except in a bad senise, or at least as a mo- 
ral distinction, while sensitive and sensible would each 
convey a different moarjing. Thus, too, 1 have followed 
Hooker, Sanderson, Milton, &:c. in deisunating the irnme- 
diateness of any act or object of knowledge by the word 
intuition^ used sometimes subjectively, sometimes objec- 
tively, even as we use the word, thought ; now as thfi 
thought, or act of thinking, and now^ as a thought, or the 
object of our reflection; and we do this without confusion 
or obscurity. The very words objective and subjective^ of 
such consonant recurrence in the schools of yore, l 
have ventured to reintroduce, because I could not so 

Vol. I. 9 


briefly, or conveniently, by any more familiar term§, dis- 
tinguish the percipere from the percipi. Lastly, 1 have 
cautiously discriminated the terms, the reason, and the 
UNDERSTANDING, encouragcd and confirmed by the au- 
thority of our genuine divines and philosophers, before 
the revolution : 

, «» both life, and sense. 

Fancy, and understanding : whence the soul 
Reason receives, and reason is her beings 
DiscussTVE or intuitive. Discourse* 
Is oftest your's, the latter most is our's, 
DiiFering but in degree^ in kind the same." 

PARADisi: Lost, Book V. 

I say, that I was confirmed by authority so venerable ; 
for I had previous and higher motives in my own convic- 
tion of the importance, nay, of the necessity of the dis- " 
tinction, as both an indispensable condition and a vital part 
of all sound speculation in metaphysics, ethical or theo- 
logical. To establish this distinction was one main ob- 
ject of The Friend ; if even in a biography of my 
own literary life I can with propriety refer to a work 
which was printed rather than published, or so published 
that it had been well for the unfortunate author if it had 
remained in manuscript ! I have even at this time bitter 
cause for remembering that which a number of my sub- 
scribers have but a trifling motive for forgetting. This 
effusion might have been spared ; but I would fain flatter 
myself that the reader will be less austere than an orien- 
tal professor of the bastinado, who, during an attempt to 
extort per argumentum baculinum a full confession from 
a culprit, ihterrapted his outcry of pain by reminding 
him that it was " a mere digression T' All this noise. Sir 1 
is nothing to the point, and no sort of answer to my 
QUESTIONS ! Ah ! hut (replied the suff'erer) it is the most 
pertinent reply in nature to your blows, 

* But for sundry notes on Shakspeare, fee. which have fallen in my war, 
I should have deemed it unnecessary to observe, thsii discourse here, or else- 
where, does not mean what we rwrv call discoursing ; but the diicursion of 
the mindy the processes ofgenerali/alion and sul)Sumi5tion, of deduction and 
conclusion. Tiius. philosophy has hitherto been discursive, while Geo- 
metry is alwaySf aod essenMlr/f intiitive. 


An imprudent man, of common goodness of heart, can- 
not but wish to turn even his imprudences to the benefit 
of others, as far as this is possible. If, therefore, any one 
of the readers of this semi-narrative should be preparing 
or intending a periodical work, I warn him, in the first 
place, against trusting in the number of names on his sub- 
scription list. For he cannot be certain that the names 
were put down by sufficient authority ; or should that be 
ascertained, it still remains to be known, whether they 
were not extorted by some over zealous friend's impor- 
tunity ; whether the subscriber had not yielded his name 
merely from want of courage to answer no ! and with the 
intention of dropping the work as soon as possible. One 
gentleman procured me nearly a hundred names for The 
Friend, and not only took frequent opportunity to re- 
mind me of his success in his canvas, but laboured to im- 
press my mind with the sense of the obligation I was un- 
der to the subscribers ; for (as he very pertinently ad* 
monished me) ^'Jifty-two shillings a year was a large sum 
to be bestowed on one individual, where there were so 
many objects of charity with strong claims to the assistance 
of the benevolent." Of these hundred patrons ninety 
threw up the publication before the fourth number, with- 
out any notice ; though it was well known to them, that 
in consequence of the distance, and tlowness and irregu- 
larity of the conveyance, I was compelled to lay in a 
stock of stamped paper for at least eight weeks before- 
hand ; each sheet of which stood me in five pence pre- 
vious to its arrival at my printer's ; though the subscrip- 
tion money was not to be received till the twenty-first 
week after the commencement of the work ; and lastly, 
though it was in nine cases out often impracticable for me 
to receive the money for two or three numbers, without 
paying an equal sum for the postage. 

In confirmation of my first caveat, I will select one 
fact among many. On my list of subscribers, among a 
considerable number of names equally flattering, was 
that of an Earl of Cork, with his address. He might as 
well have been an Earl of Bottle, for aught / knew of 
him, who had been content to reverence the peerage in 
abstracto, rather than in concretis. Of course, The 
Friend was regularly sent as far, if I remember rights 
as the eighteenth number, i, e. till a fortnight before 


the subscription was to be paid. And lo I just at this 
time I received a letter from his lordship, reproving me 
in language far more lordly than courteous, for my impu- 
dence in directing my pamphlets to him, who knew no- 
thing of me or my work ! Seventeen or eighteen numbers 
of which, however, his lordship was pleased to retain, 
probably for the cuhnary or post-cuhnary conveniences 
of his servants. 

Secondly, I warn all others from the attempt to devi- 
ate from the ordinary mode of publishing a work by the 
trade. I thought, indeed, that to the purchaser it was 
indifferent, whether thirty per cent, of the purchase- 
money went to the booksellers or to the government ; 
and that the convenience of receiving the work by the 
post at his own door would give the preference to the 
jatter. It is hard, I own, to have been labouring for 
years, in collecting and arranging the materials ; to have 
spent every shilling that could be spared ai\er the neces- 
saries of life had been furnished, in buying books, or in 
journies for the purpose of consulting them, or of acquir- 
ing facts at the fountain head ; then to buy the paper, 
pay for the printing, ^o. all at least fifteen per cent, be- 
yond what the trade would have paid ; and then, after all, 
to give thirty per cent, not of the nett protits, but of the 
gross results of the gale, to a man who has merely to give 
the books shelf or warehouse room, and permit his ap- 
prentice to hand them over the counter to those who 
may ask for them ; and this too, copy by copy, although 
if the work be on any philosophical or scientific subject, 
it may be years before the edition is sold off. All this, I 
confess, must seem a hardship, and one to which the pro- 
ducts of industry in no other mode of exertion are sub- 
ject. Yet even this is better, far better, than to attempt 
in any way to unite the functions of author and publisher. 
But the most prudent mode is to sell the copy-right, at 
least of one or more editions, for the most that the trade 
will offer. By few, only, can a large remuneration be 
expected ; but fifty pounds and ease of mind are of more 
real advantage to a literary man, than the chance of five 
hundred, with the certainty of insult and degrading anxie- 
ties. 1 shall have been grievously misunderstood, if this 
statement should be interpreted as written with the de- 
sire of detracting from the character of booksellers o^ 


publishers. The individuals did not make the laws and 
customs of their trade ; but, as in every other trade, take 
them as they find them. Till the evil can be proved to 
be removable, and without the substitution of an equal or 
greater inconvenience, it were neither wise nor manly even 
to complain of it. But to use it as a pretext for speaking*, 
or even for thinking, or feeling, unkindly or opprobriously 
of the tradesmen, as individuals, would be something worse 
than unwise or even than unmanly ; it would be immoral 
and calumnious ! My motives point in a far different di- 
rection, and to far other objects, as will be seen in the 
conclusion of the chapter. 

A learned and exemplary old clergyman, who many 
years ago went to his reward, followed by the regrets and 
blessings of his flock, published, at his own expense, two 
volumes octavo, entitled, a new Theory of Redemption. 
The work was most severely handled in the Monthly or 
Critical Review, I forget which ; and this unprovoked 
hostility became the good old man's favourite topic of con- 
versation among his friends. Well ! (he used to exclaim,) in 
the sEcoxD edition, I shall have an opportunity of exposing 
both the ignorance and the malignity of the anonymous critic. 
Two or three years, however, passed by without any 
tidings from the bookseller, who had undertaken the 
printing and publication of the work, and who was per- 
fectly at his ease, as the author was known to be a maa 
of large property. At length the accounts were written 
for ; and in the course of a few weeks they were present- 
ed by the rider for the house, in person. My old friend 
put on his spectacles, and holding the scroll with no very 
firm hand, began — Paper, so much: O moderate enough 
— not at all beyond my expectation ! Printing, so much : 
Well I moderate enough ! Stiching, covers, advertisements, 
carriage, 4*c. so much. — Still nothing amiss. Selleridge, 
(for orthography is no necessary part of a bookseller's 
iiteraiy acqmrements,) £3. 3s. Bless me ! only three 
guineas for the what d'ye call it ? the selleridge ? No 
more. Sir I replied the rider. Nay, but that is too mo- 
derate ! rejoined my old friend. Only three guineas for 
selling a thousand copies of a work in two volumes ? O 
Sir ! (cries the young traveller,) you have mistaken the 
word. There have been none ofthemso/f?; they have 
been sent back from London long ago ; and this £3. 3^. 


js lor the cellandge^ ov warehouse-room in our book cel- 
lar. The work was in consequence preferred froixj the 
ominous cellar of the pubhsher to the author's garret ; 
and oD presenting a copy to an acquaintance, the old gen- 
tlerncU3 used to tell the anecdote with great humour, and 
still greater good nature. 

With equal lack of worldly knowledge, 1 was a far 
more than equal sufferer for it, at the very outset of my 
authorship. Toward ihe close ot the iirst year troin the 
time that, in an inaub|»icious hour I left the friendly cluis- 
ters, and the iiappy grove oi quiet, ever honoured Jesus 
College, Cambridi^e, i \\m persuaded by sundry Philan- 
thropists and Anii-p(''emists to set on foot a periodical 
work, entitled The Watchman, that (according to the 
general motto ot the work) all might know the truths and 
ihat the truth might rnakt us free ! In order to exempt it 
from the sihiiip tax, and likewise to contribute as little 
as possible to the supposed guilt of a war against freedom, 
it v^a^ to be pablihhed on every eighth day, thirty-two 
page§, lar^'e octavo, closely printed, and price only four- 
PFNCE. Accordingly, witti a flaming prospectus '' Know* 
ledge is t'ower^'* 4'C. to try the state of the political at' 
mosphere^ and so forth, 1 set oft' on a tour to the north, 
from Bristt>l to Sheffield, for the purpose of procuring 
€u>tomer6, preaching by the way in most of the great 
towns, as an hirele^i volualeer, in a blue coal and white 
waistcoat, that not a rag of the woman of Babylon might 
be seen on me. For 1 was at that time, and long after, 
though a Trinitarian (i. e. ad normam Flatonis) in philo- 
sophy, yet a zealous Unitarian in religion ; more accu- | 
rately, I was a psilanthropist, one of those who believe 
our Lord to have been the real son of Joseph, and who 
lay the main stress on the resurrection rather than on the 
crucifixion O ! never can I remeiJiber those days with 
eiiiier shame or regret. For f was most sincere, most 
disinterested ! My opinions were, indeed, in many and 
most important points erroneous ; but my heart was sm- 
gle. M eaith, rank, life itself, then seemed cheap to me, 
compared with the interests ot (what I believed to be) 
the truth and the will of my n)aker. I cannot even ac- 
cuse myself of havina bet n actuated by vanity; for in 
the expansion of my enlbubiasm, i did not think of myself 


My campaign comraenced at Birmingham ; and my first 
attack was on a rigid Calvinist, a tallow chandler by 
trade- He was a tall dingy man, in whom length was so 
predominant over breadth, that he might almost have been 
borrowed for a foundery poker O that face ! a face 
KOTfi^^pao-iv ! 1 have it be.'ore nje at this moment. The lank, 
black, twine-like halr.pingui nitescent^ cut in a strait line 
along the black stubble of his thin gunpowder eye brows, 
that looked like a scorched after-math from a last week's 
shaving. His coat collar behind in perfect unison, both 
of colour and lustre, with the coarse yet glib cordage, that 
1 suppose he called his hair, and which, with a bend in- 
ward at the nape of the neck, (the only approach to flex- 
ure in his whole figure,) slunk in behind his waistcoat ; 
while the countenance, lank, dark, very hard and with 
strong perpendicular furrows, gave me a dim notion of 
some one looking at me through a used gridiron, all soot, 
grease, and iron ! But he was one of the thorough bred, 
a true lover of liberty, and (1 was informed; had proved 
to the satisfaction of many, that Mr. Pitt was one of the 
horns of the second beast in the Revelations, that spoke 
like a dragon. A person, to whoni one of my letters of 
recommendation had been addressed, was my introducer. 
It was a new event in my life, my first stroke in the new 
business 1 had undertakeii of an author, yea, and of an 
author trading on his own account. My companion, after 
soiiie imperfect sentences, and a multitude of hums and 
haas, abandoned the cause to his client ; and f commenced 
an harangue of half an hour to Ihileleutheros, the tallow- 
chandler, varying my notes through the whole gamut of 
^ eloquence, from the ratiocinative to the declamatory, and 
in the latter from the pathetic to the indignant 1 argued, 
I described, i promised, 1 prophecied ; and beginning 
with the ca[)tivity of nations, 1 ended with the near ap- 
proach o\' the milienium, finishing the whole with some 
of my own v erses describing that glorious state oul of the 
Religious Musings ; 

• Such delights, 

As float to earth, permitted visitants^! 
When ill some huui of solemti jubdee 
The massive gales of Paradise are thrown 
"Wide open: and fortiicome in fragmeuls wild 


Sweet echoes of unearthly melodies, 
And odours snatch'd from beds of Amaranth, 
And they that from tlie chrystal river of life 
Spring up on freshen'd wing-s, ambrosial gales ! 

Religious Musings^ 1. 356 

My taper man of lights listened with perseverant and 
praise-worthy patience, though (as I was afterwards told 
on complaining of certain gales that were not altogether 
ambrosial) it v/as a melting day with him. And what, 
Sir! (he said after a short pause) might the cost be ? Only 
FOUR-PENCE, (O ! how I felt the anti-climax, the abysmal 
bathos o{ \\\:ii four -pence t) only four pence ^ Sir, each 
number , to be published on every eighth day. That comes 
to a deal of money at the end of a year. And how much 
did you say there was to be for the money ? Thirty-two 
pages. Sir ! large octave, closely pnnted. Thirty and two 
pages ? Bless me, why except what 1 does in a family 
way^ on the Sabbath, that's more than 1 ever reads, Sir ! 
all the year round. 1 am as great a one, as any man in 
Brummagem, Sir ! for liberty and truth, and all them sort 
of things, but as to this (no offence, I hope. Sir !) I must 
beg to be excused. 

So ended my first canvass ; from causes that I shall 
presently mention, I made but one other application in 
person. This took place at Manchester, to a stately and 
opulent wholesale dealer in cottons. He took my letter 
of introduction, and having perused it, measured me from 
head to foot, and again from foot to head, and then asked 
if 1 had any bill or invoice of the thing ; 1 presented 
my prospectus to him ; he rapidly^ skimmed and hummed 
over the first side, and still more rapidly the second and 
concluding page ; crushed it within his fingers and the 
palm of his hand ; then, most deliberately and signiji- 
cantly rubbed and smoothed one part against the other ; 
and, lastly, putting it into his pocket, turned his back on 
me w^ith an '* over rim with these articles !" and so with- 
out another syllable, retired into his counting-house ; and, 
I can truly say, to my unspeakable amusement. 

This, I have said, was my secon 1 and last attempt. 
On returning baffled from the first, in which I had vainly 
essay^ed to repeat the miracle of Orpheus with the Brum- 
inagem patriot, I dined with the tradesman who had in" 


troduced me to him. After dinner, be importuned me to 
smoke a pipe with him, and two or three other illuminati 
of the same rank I objected, both because 1 was en- 
gaged to spend the evening with a minister and his friends, 
and because { had never smoked except once or twice in 
my life lime, and then it was herb tobacco mixed with 
Oronooko, On the assurance, however, that the tobacco 
\V3S equally mild, ^nd seeing, too, that it was of a ytl* 
low colour ; (not forgetting the lamentable difficulty I 
have alwaj^s experienced in saying no! and in abstain- 
ing from what the people about me were doing,) I took 
half a pipe, filling the lower half of the bowl w'ith salt. 
I was soon, however, compelled to resign it in conse- 
quence of a giddiness and distressful feeling in my eyes^ 
which, as I had drank but a single glass of ale must, I 
knew, have been the effect of the tobacco. Soon after, 
deeming myself recovered, f sallied forth to my engage- 
ment, but the waik and the fresh air brought on all the 
symptoms again, and 1 had scarcely entered the minis- 
ter's drawing room, and opened a small pacquet of letters, 
which he had received from Bristol for me. ere 1 sunk 
back on the sofa in a sort of swoon rather than sleep. 
Fortunately, I had found just time enough to inform him 
of the confused state of my feelmgs, and of the occa- 
sion. For here and thus I lay, my face like a wo 11 that 
is white-washing, deathly pale, and with the cold drops 
of perspiration running down it from my forehead, while, 
one after anolher, there dropt in the diflerent gentlemen 
who had been invited to meet and spend the evening with 
me, to the number of from fifteen to twenty. As the 
j:;oison of tobacco acts but for a short time, I at length 
awoke from insensibility, and Jooked round on the par- 
ty, my eyes dazzled by the candles which had been 
lighted in the interim. By way of relieving my embar- 
rassment, one of the gentlemen began the conversation, 
with '' Have you seen a paper to day, Mr. Coleridge ?^^ 
Sir I ^'I replied rubbing my eyes,) " I am far from con- 
vinced, that a christian is permitted to read either news- 
papers or any other works of merely, political and tem- 
porary interest. This remark, so ludicrously inapposite 
to, or, rather, incongruous with, the purpose for which I 
was known to have visited Birmingha .», and to assist me 
in which they were all then met, produced an involunla- 


ry and general burst of laughter ; and seldom, indeed, 
Lave I passed so many delightful hours, as 1 enjoyed in 
that room from the moment of that laugh to an early hour 
the next morning. Never, perhaps, in so mixed and nu- 
merous a party, have I since heard conversation sustained 
with such animation, enriched with such variety of in- 
formation, and enlivened with such a flow of anecdote. 
Both then and afterwards, they all joined in dissuading 
me from proceeding with my scheme ; assured me, in the 
most friendly, and yet most flattering expressions, that 
the employment was neither fit for me, nor 1 fit for the 
employment. Yet if I had determined on persevering in 
it, they promised to exert themselves to the utmost to 
procure subscribers, and insisted that I should make no 
more applications in person, but carry on the canvass by 
proxy. 1 he same hospitable reception, the same dissua- 
sion, and, (that failing,) the same kind exertions in my 
behalf, I met with at Manchester, Derby, Nottingham, 
Sheffield, indeed, at every place in which I took up my 
sojourn I often recall with affectionate pleasure the ma- 
ny respectable n>en who interested themselves for me, a 
perfect stranger to them, not a few of whom I can still 
name among my friends They will bear witness forme, 
how opposite even then mj principles were to those of 
jacobinism or even of democracy, and can attest the 
strict accuracy of the statement which 1 have left on re- 
cord in the i 0th and llth numbers of The Friend. 

From this rememberable tour I returned with nearly 
a thousand names on the subscriptign list of the Watch- 
man ; yet more than half convinced, that prudence dic- 
tated the abandonment of the scheme. But for this very 
reason I persevered in it ; for 1 was at that period of my 
life so completeh hag-ridden by the fear of being influ- 
enced by selfish motives, that to know a mode of conduct 
to be the dictate of prudence^ was a sort of presumptive 
proof to my feelings, that the contrary was the dictate 
©f duty. Accordingly, I commenced the work, which 
was announced in London by long bills, in letters larger 
than had ever been seen before, and which (I have been 
informed, for I did not see them myself) eclipsed the 
glories even of the lottery puffs. But, alas! the publi- 
cation of the very first number w-as delayed beyond the 
day anuQunced for its appearance. In the second num- 


ber an essay against fast days, with a most censurable ap- 
plication of a text from Isaiah for its motto, lost me near 
live hundred of my subscribers at one blow. In the 
two following numbers I made enemies of all my Jacobin 
and Democratic patrons ; for disgusted by their infideli- 
ty, and their adoption of French morals with French 
philosophy ; and perhaps thinking, that charity ought to 
begin nearest home ; instead of abusing the Government 
and the Aristocrats chiefly or entirely, as had been ex- 
pected of me, I levelled my attacks at ^'modern patri- 
otism,'^ and even ventured to declare my behef, that 
whatever the motives of ministers might have been for 
the sedition (or as it was then the fashion to call them, 
the gagging) bills, yet the bills themselves would pro- 
duce an effect to be desired by all the true friends of 
freedom, as far as they should contribute to deter men 
from openly declaiming on subjects, the principles of 
which they had never bottomed, and from '' pleading to 
the poor and ignorant, instead of pleading Jfor them.'* 
At tho same time I avowed my conviction, that national 
education, and a concurring spread of the gospel, were 
the indispensable condition of any true political amelio- 
ration. Thus, by the time the seventh number was pub- 
lished, I had the mortification (but why should 1 say 
this, when, in truth, 1 cared too little for any thing that 
concerned my worldly interests to be at all mortified 
about it ?) of seeing the preceding numbers exposed in 
sundry old iron shops for a penny a piece. At the ninth 
number I dropt the work. But from the London pub- 
lisher 1 could not obtain a shilling ; he was a — and 

set me at defiance. From other places I procured but 
little, and after such delays as rendered that little worth 
nothing : and I should have been inevitably thrown into 
jail by my Bristol printer, who refused to wait even for a 
month for a sum between eighty and ninety pounds, if the 
money had not been paid for me by a man by no means 
affluent, a dear friend who attached himself to me from my 
first arrival at Bristol, who has continued my friend with 
a fidelity unconquered by time or even by my own appa- 
rent neglect ; a friend from whom I never received an 
advice that was not wise, or a remonstrance that was not 
gentle and affectionate. 


Conscientiously an opponent of the first reTolutionary 
war, yet vvitli my eyes thoroughly opened to the true 
character and impotence of the favourers of revolutionary 
principles in England, principles which I held in abhor- 
rence (for it was part of my political creed, that whoever 
ceased to act as an individual by making himself a mem- 
ber of any society not sanctioned by his government, for- 
feited the rights of a citizen) — a vehement anti-ministe- 
rialist, but after the invasion of Switzerland a more 
vehement anti-gallican, and still more intensely an anti- 
jacobin, I retired to a cottage at Stowey, and provided 
for my scanty maintenance by writino- verses for a Lon- 
don Morning Paper. 1 saw pLiinly, that literature was 
not a profession by which 1 could expect to live ; for I 
could not disguise from myself, that whatever my talents 
might or might not be in other respects, yet they w^ere 
not of the sort that could enable me to become a popu- 
lar writer ; and that whatever my opinions might be in 
themselves, they w^ere almost equi-distant from all the 
three prominent pnrties, the Pittites, the Foxites, and 
the Democrats. Of the unsaleable nature of my writings 
I had an amusing memento one morning from our own 
servant girl. For happening to rise at an earlier hour 
than usual, I observed her putting an extravagant quan- 
tity of paper into the grate in order to light the fire, and 
mildly checked her for her wastefulness ; la. Sir ! (re- 
plied poor Nanny) why, it is only "^ Watchmen." 

I now devoted myself to poetry and to the study of 
ethics and psychology ; and so profound was my admira- 
tion at this time of Hartley's Essays on Man, that 1 gave 
his name to my first born. In addition to the gentle- 
man, my neighbour, whose garden joined on to my little 
orchard, and the cultivation of whose friendship had 
been my sole motive in choosing Stowey for my resi- 
dence, \ was so fortunate as to acquire, shortly after my 
settlement tbere, an invaluable blessing in the society 
and neighbourhood of one, to whom I could look up 
with equal reverence, whether 1 regarded him as a poet, 
a philosopher, or a man. His conversation extended 
to almost all subjects, except physics and pohtics ; with 
the latter he never troubled himself Yet neither my 
retirement nor my utter abstraction from all the disputes 
of the day could secure me in those jealous times from 


suspicion and obloquy, ivhich did not stop at me, but ex- 
tended to my excellent friend, whose perfect innocence 
was even adduced as a proof of his guilt. One of the 
many busy sycophants^ of that day (1 here use the word 
sycophant in its original sense, ^s a wretch who flatters 
the prevaihng party by informing against his neighbours, 
under pretence that they are exporters of prohibited 
Jigs or fancies ! for the moral apphcation of the term it 
matters not which) — one of these sycophantic law-mon- 
grels, discoursing on the politics of the neighbourhood, 
uttered the following deep remark : *' As to Coleridge, 
there is not so much harm in hiniy for he is a whirl- 
brain that talks whatever comes uppermost ; but that 

I he is the dark traitor. You never heard him 

^ay a syllable on the subject. ^^ 

Now that the hand of Providence has disciplined all 
Europe into sobriety, as men tame wild elephants, by 
alternate blows and caresses ; now that Englishmen of all 
classes are restored to their old English notions and feel- 
ings, it will with difficulty be credited, how great an in- 
fluence was at that time possessed and exerted by the 
spirit of secret defamation, (the too constant attendant on 
party zeal 1) during the restless interim from 1793 to the 
commencement of the Addington administration, or the 
year before the truce of Amiens. For by the latter period 
the minds of the partizans, exhausted by excess of stimu- 
lation, and humbled by mutual disappointment, had become 
languid. The same causes that inclined the nation to 
peace, disposed the individuals to reconciliation. Both 
parties had found themselves in the wrong. The one 
had confessedly mistaken the moral character of the 
revolution, and the other had miscalculated both its moral 
and its physical resources. The experiment was made 
at the price of great, almost we m^y say, of humiliating 
sacrifices ; and wise men foresaw that it would fail, at 
least in its direct and ostensihle object. Yet it w^as pur- 
cba?<tfl cheaply, and realized an object of equal value, 
and, if possible, of still more vital importance. For it 
brouirht about a national unanimity, unexampled in our 
history since the reign of Ehzabeth ; and Providence, 

* SuKSt (pGivtiv, to show or detect figs, the exportation of whic^, from 
Attica, W8S forbidden by the laws. 

Vol. I. 10 


never wantin;^ to a good work when men liave done their 
parts, soon provided a» common focus in the cause of 
Spain, which made us all once more Englishmen, by at 
once gratifying and correcting the predilections of both 
parties. The sincere reverers of the throne felt the 
cause of loyalty ennobled by its alliance with that of free- 
dom ; while the honest zealots of the people could nor 
but admit, that freedom itself assumed a more winning 
form, humanized by loyalty, and consecrated by religious 
principle. The youthful enthusiasts, who, flattered by 
the morning rainbow of the French revolution, had made 
a boast of expatriating their hopes and fears, now disci- 
plined by the succeeding storms, and sobered by increase 
of years, had been taught to prize and honour the spirit of 
nationality as the best safeguard of national independence, 
and this again as the absolute prerequisite and necessary 
basis of popular rights. 

If in Spain too disappointment has nipt our too forward 
expectations, yet all is not destroyed that is checked. 
The crop was perhaps springing up too rank in the stalk 
to kern well ; and there were, doubtless, symptoms of the 
Gallican blight on it. If superstition and despotism have 
been suifered to let in their wolvish sheep to trample 
and eat it down even to the surface, yet the roots remain 
alive, and the second growth may prove all the stronger 
and healthier for the temporary interruption. At all 
events, to vs heaven has been just and gracious. The 
people of England did their best, and have received their 
rewards. Long may we continue to deserve it ! Causes, 
which it had been too generally the habit of former states- 
men to regard as belonging to another world, are now 
admitted, by all ranks, to have been the main agents of 
our success. '* IVe fought from heaven ; the stars in their 
courses fought against Sisera^ If then unanimity, ground- 
ed on "moral feelings, has been among the least equivo- 
cal sources of our natianal glory, that man deserves the 
esteem of his countrymen, even as patriots, who devotes 
his life and the utmost efforts of his intellect to the pre- 
servation and continuance of that unanimity by the dis- 
closure and establishmeut of principles. For by these all 
opinions must be ultimately tried ; and (as the feelings 
of men are worthy of regard only as far as they are the 
j-epresentatives of their fixed opinions) on the knowledge 



of these, all unanimity, not accidental and fleeting, must 
be grounded. Let the scholar who doubts this assertion, 
refer only to the speeches and writings of Edmund Burke, 
at the commencement of the American war, and compare 
them with his speeches and writings at the commence- 
ment of the French revolution. He w^ill find the princi^ 
pies exactly the same, and the deductions the same ; but the 
practical inferences almost opposite, in the one case from 
those drawn in the other ; yet in both equally legitimate, 
and in both equally confirmed by the results. Whence 
gained he this superiority of foresight ? Whence arose 
the striking diff^erence^ and, in most instances, even the dis- 
crepancy between the grounds assigned by him^ and by 
those who voted tL'z7/t.him, on the same questions ? How 
are we to explain the notorious fact, that the Speeches 
and writings of Edmund Burke are more interesting at 
the present day than they were found at the time of their 
first publication ; while those of his illustrious^ confede- 
rates are either forgotten, or exist only to furnish proofs 
that the same conclusion which one man had deduced 
scientifically, may be brought out by another, in conse- 
quence of errors that luckily chanced to neutralize each 
other ? It would be unhandsome as a conjecture, even 
were it not, as it actually is, fidse in point of fact, to 
attribute this difference to deficiency of talent on the part 
of Burke's friends, or of experience, or of historical 
knowledge. The satisfactory solution is, that Edmund 
Burke possessed, and had seduously sharpened, that eye 
which sees all things, actions, and events, in relation \a 
i\\Q. lazi's that determine their existence, and circumscribe 
their possibility. He referred habitually to principles.. 
He was a scienii/ic statesman ; and, therefore, a seer. Fov 
every principle contains, in itself, the germs of a prophe- 
cy ; and as the prophetic povv^eris the essential-pi ivilege 
of science, so the fulfilment of its oracles supplies the 
outward and (to men in general) the ojily test of its clain^ 
to the title. W^earisome as Burke's refinements appeared 
to his parliamentary auditors, yet the cultivated classe«> 
throughout Europe have reason to be thankful, that 

- ho went on refining 

And thcu^dit of convincing-, while they thought of dininj;. 


Our very sign boards (snid an illustrious friend to me^ 
give evidence that there has been a Titian in the world. 
In like manner, not only the debates in parliament ; not 
only our proclamations and state papers, but the essays 
and leading paragraphs of our journals arc so many re- 
niernbrancers of Edmlnd Burke. Of this the reader may 
easily convince himself, if either by recollection or refer- 
ence he will compare the opposition newspapers at the 
commencement and during the five or six following years 
of the French revolution, with the sentiments, and 
grounds of argument assumed in the same class of Jour- 
iiajs at present, and for some 3^ears past. 

Whether the spirit of jacobinism, which the writings 
of Burke exorcised from the higher and from the literary 
classes, may not, like the ghost in TIamlet, be heard mo- 
ving and mining in the underground chambers with an ac- 
tivity the more dangerous because less noisy, may admit of 
a question. I have given my opinions on this point, and 
the grounds of them, in my letters to Judge Fletcher, 
occasioned by his charge to the Wexford grand jury, 
and published in the Courier, Be this as it may, the evil 
spirit of jealousy, and w^ith it the cerberean whelps of 
feud and slander no longer walk their rounds in culti- 
vated society. 

Far different were the days to which these anecdotes 
have carried me back. The dark guesses of some zeal- 
ous quidnunc met with so congenial a soil in the grave 
alarm of a titled Dogberry of our neighbourhood, that a 
SPY was actually sent down from the government pour 
surveillance of myself and friend. There must have been 
not only abundance, but variety of these *' honorable 
men," at the disposal of Ministers : for this proved a 
very honest fellow. After three week's truly Indian 
perseverance in tracking us, (for we were commonly to- 
irether) during all which time seldom w^ere we out of 
doors, but he contrived to be within hearing (and all the 
time utterly unsuspected : how indeed could such a sus- 
picion enter our fancies ?) he not only rejected Sir Dog- 
bei ry's request that he would try yet a little longer, but 
declared to him his behef, that both my friend and myself 
were as good subjects, for aught he could discover to 
the contrary, as any in His Majesty's dominions. He had 
repeatedly hid himself, he said, for hours together, behi^nd 


a bank at the sea-side, (our favourite seat) and'overheard 
our conversation. At first he fancied that we were aware 
of our danger ; for he often heard me talk of one Spy 
Nozij^ which he was inchned to interpret of himself, and 
of a remarkable feature belonging to him ; but he wa^ 
speedily convinced that it was a man who had made a 
book, and lived long ago. Our talk ran most upon books^ 
and we were perpetually desiring each other to look at 
this and to listen to that ; but he could not catch a word 
about politics. Once he had joined me on the road ; (this 
occurred, as 1 was returning home alone from my friend's 
house, which was about three miles from my own cottage) 
and passing himself oil as a traveller, he had entered into 
conversation with me, and talked, of purpose, in a demo- 
crat way in order to draw me out. The result, it ap- 
pears, not only convinced him that I was no friend of ja- 
cobinism ; but (he added) I had " plainly made it out to 
be such a silly as well as wicked thing, that he felt asham- 
ed, though he had only pw^ it 07i.^^ I distinctly remem- 
bered the occurrence, and had mentioned it immediatel}'' 
on my return, repeating what the traveller, with his Bar- 
dolph nose had said, with my own answer ; and so little 
did I suspect the true object of my "tempter ere accuser, "" 
that I expressed, with no small pleasure, my hope and he- 
lief that the conversation had been of some service to 
the poor misled malcontent. This incident, therefore, 
prevented all doubt as to the truth of the report, 
which, through a friendly medium, came to me from 
the master of the village inn, who had been ordered to^ 
entertain the government gentleman in his best manner, 
but, above all, to be silent concerning such a person being " 
in bis house. At length he received Sir Dogberry's com- 
mands to accompany his guest at the final interview ; and 
after the absolving suffrage of the gentleman ho7ioiired with 
the confidence of ministers^ answered, as follows, to the 
following queries ? D. Well, landlord ! and what do you 
know of the person in question ? L. 1 see him often pass 

by with maislcr , my landlord, (z. e the owner of 

the house,) and sometimes with the new-comers at Hol- 
ford ; but 1 never said a word to him, or he to me. D. 
But do you not know, that he has distributed papers and 
band-bills of a seditious nature among the common peo- 
ple I L. No, your honour! I never heard of such a thmg. 


£). Hare you not seen this Mr. Coleridge, or heard of hFs 
haranguing and talking to knots, and clusters of the in- 
habitants ? — What are you grinning at, Sir ? L. Beg your 
honour's pardon ! but I was only thinking, how they'd 
have stared at him. !f what [ have heard be true, your 
honour! they would not have understood a word he said. 
"U'hen our vicar was here, Dr. L.,the master of the great 
school, and canon of Windsor, there was a great dinner 

party at maister 's ; and one of the farmers^ 

that was there, told us that he and the doctor talked real 
Hebrew Greek at each other for an hour together after 
dinner D Answer the question. Sir! Does he ever ha- 
rangue the people ? L. 1 hope your honour an't angry 
with me. I can say no more than I know. I never saw 
him talking wiih any one but my landlord, and our cu* 
rate, and the strange gentleman. D. Has he not been 
seen wandering on the hills towards the channel, and 
along the shore,»with books and papers in his hand, taking 
charts and maps of the country ? L. Why, as to that, your 
honour! I own, I have heard ; I am sure, I would not 
Tvish to say ill' of any body ; but it is certain, that I have 
lieard — D Speak out, man ! don't be afraid, you are doing; 
your duty to your king and goveriHnent. What have you, 
heard ? L. Why, .^olks do say, your honour ! as how that 
lie is a poet, and that he is going to put Quantock and all 
about here in print ; and as they be so much together, I 
suppose that the strange gentleman has some consarn in 
the business. So ended this formidable inquisition, the 
latter part of which alone require? explanation, and, at the 
same time, entitles the anecdote to a place in my literary 
Jiie. I had considered it as a defect in the admirable 
poem of the Task, that the subject, which gives the tftle 
to the work, was not, and indeed could not be, carried on 
beyond the three or four first pages, and that throughout 
the poem the connexions are frequently aukward, and the 
transitions abrupt and arbitrary i sought for a subject 
that should give equal room and freedom for description^ 
incident, and impassioned reflections on men, nature, and 
society, yet supply, in itself, a natural connexion to the 
parts, and unity to the whole Such a subject I co- ceiv- 
ed myself to have found in a stream, traced from its source 
in the hills among the yellow-red moss and conical glnss- 
?haped tufts of Bt'Ut, to the first break or fall, where it^- 



drops became audible, and it begins to form a channel ; 
thence to the peat and turf barn, itself built of the same 
dark squares as it sheltered ; to the sheep-fold, to the 
first cultivated plot of ground, to the lo^lely cottage and 
its bleak garden won from the heath : to the hamlet, the 
villages, the market-town, the manufactories, and the sea- 
port. My walks, therefore, were almost daily on the 
top of Quantock, and among its sloping coouibs. With 
my pencil and memorandum book in my hand, 1 was 
making studies^ as the artists call them, and often mould- 
ing my thoughts into verse, with the objects and imagery 
immediately before my senses. Many circumstances, 
evil and good, intervened to prevent the couipietion of 
the poem, which was to have been entitled ''TheBrook.'^ 
Had I finished the work, it was my purpose, in the heat 
of the moment, to have dedicated it to our then conimit- 
tee of public safety, as containing the charts and maps, 
with ^vhich I was to have supplied the French govern- 
ment in aid of their plans of invasion. And these, too, 
for a tract of coast that from i levedon to Minehead 
scarcely permits the approach of a fishing boat ! 

All my experience, from my first entrance into life to 
the present hour, is in favour of the warning maxim, that 
the man who opposes in toto the political or religious 
zealots of his age, is safer from their obloquy, than he who 
differs from them in one or two points, or, perhaps, only 
in degree By that transfer of the feelings of private 
life- into the discussion of public questions, which is the 
queen bee in the hive of party fanaticism, the partizan has 
more sympathy with an intemperate opposite than with a 
moderate friend. We new enjoy an intermission, and 
long may it continue ! In addiHon to far higher and more 
important merits, our present bible societies, and clher 
numerous associations for national or charitable objects, 
may serve perhaps lo carry off the superfluous activity, 
and fervour oi stirring minds in innocent hyperboles and 
the bustle of management. But the poison-tree is not 
dead, though the sap may, for a season, have subsided to 
its roots At least, let us not be lulled into such a notion 
of our entire security, as not to keepvvatch and ward,, 
even on our best feelings. I have seen gross intolerance 
shown in support of toleration ; sectarian antipathy most 
oblruaively displayed iu the promotion of an undistiR- 


guishiiig comprehension of sects ; and acts of cruelty, (I 
had almost said of treachery,) committed in furtherance 
of an object vitally important to the cause of humanity; 
^nd all this by men, too, of naturally kind disposHions 
and exemplary conduct. 

The magic rod of fanaticism is preserved in the very 
adyta of human nature ; and needs only the re-exciting 
warmth of a master hand to bud forth afresh, and pro- 
duce the old fruits. The horror of the peasant's war in 
Germany, and the direful effects of the Anabaptist's ten- 
ets (which differed only from those of jacobinism by the 
substitution of theological for philosophical jargon) struck 
all Europe for a time with affright. Yet little more than 
a century was sufficient to obliterate all effective memo- 
ry of these events. The same principles, with similar, 
though less dreadful consequences, were again at work^ 
from the imprisonment of the first Charles to the resto- 
ration of his son. The flmatic maxim of extirpating fa- 
naticism by persecution produced a civil war. The war 
ended in the victor}^ of the insurgents ; but the temper 
survived, and Milton had abundant grounds for asserting^ 
that " Presbyter was but Old Prifst writ large !" One 
good result, thank heaven! of this zealotry was the re- 
establishment of the church. And now it might have 
been hoped, that the mischievous spirit would have been 
bound for a season, " and a seal set upon him that he 
might deceive the nation no more." But no ! The ball 
of persecution was taken up with undiminished vigour by 
the persecuted. The same fanatic principle, that under 
the solemn oath and covenant had turned cathedrals into 
stables, destroyed the rarest trophies of art and ancestral 
piety, and hunted the brightest ornaments of learning and 
religion into holes and corners, now marched under epis- 
copal banners : and having first crowded the prisons of 
England, emptied its whole vial of wrath on the misera- 
ble covenanters of Scotland. (Laing^s Histor}^ of Scot- 
land. — Walter Scott^s Bard's Ballads, Lc) A merciful pro- 
vidence at length constrained both parties to join against 
a common enemy. A wise government followed ; and 
the established church became, and now is, not only the 
brightest example, but our best and only sure bulwark, 
of toleration ! The true and indispensable bank against a 
r,€w inundation of persecuting zeal — Esto perpetua ! 


A lon^ interval of quiet succeeded ; or, ratlier, the ex- 
haustion had produced a cold tit of the ague, which was 
sjnitoiDatized by indiilerence among the many, and a 
tendency to infidelity or scepticism in the educated 
classes. At length those feelings of disgust and hatred, 
which, for a brief while, the multitude had attached to 
the crimes and absurdities of sectarian and democra- 
tic fanaticism, were transferred to the oppressive privi- 
leges of the noblesse, and the luxury, intrigues, and fa- 
voritism of the continental courts. The same principleSp 
dressed in the ostentatious garb of a fasliionable philoso- 
phy, once more rose triumphant, and ellected the French 
revolution. And have we not, within tiie last three or 
four years, had reason to apprehend, that the detestable 
maxims and correspondent measures of the late French 
despotism had already bedimmed the public recollections 
of democratic phrenzy ; had drawn off, to other objects, 
the electric force of the feelings which had massed and 
upheld those recollections ; and that a favourable con- 
currence of occasions was alone wanting to awaken the 
thunder, and precipitate the lightning, from the opposite 
quarter of the political heaven ? (See The Friend, 

P- I'o.) ... . ■ . 

In part from constitutional indolence, which, in the 
very hey-dey of hope, had kept my enthusiasm in check, 
but still more from the habits and influences of a classical 
education and academic pursuits, scarcely had a year elaps- 
ed from the commencement of my literary and political 
adventures before my mind sunk into a state of thorough 
disgust and des{)ondency, both with regard to the disputes 
and the parties disputant. VV^ith more than poetic feelr. 
ing I exclaimed : 

•• The sensual and the dark rebel in vain, 
Slaves by their own compulsion ! In mad game 
They break their manacles, to vrcar t)ie name 
Of freedom, graven ou a heavier chain. 
O liberty ! with profitless endeavour, 
Have I pursued thee manv a weary hour; 
Bat thou nor swell'st the victor's pomp, nor ever 
Didst breathe thy soul in forms of human powerl 

Alike from all, howe'er they praise thee 

(Nor prayer nor boastful name delays theo} 


From superstition's harpy minions 
And factious bJaspbemy's obscener slaves, 
Thou speedest on thy cherub pinions. 
The guide of homeless winds, and playmate of the waves! 

Fkance, a Palinodia. 

I retired to a cottage in Somersetshire at the foot of 
' Quantock, and devoted my thoughts and studies to the 
foundations of religion and morals. Here I found my- 
self all afloat. Doubts rushed in ; broke upon me 
"-'•from the fountains of the great deep^^ and fell '^fromthe 
windows cf heaven, "^^ The fontal truths of natural religion, 
and the books of Revelation, alike contributed to the 
flood ; and it was long ere my ark touched on an Ar- 
arat, an-d rested. The idea of the Supreme Being ap- 
peared to me to be as necessarily implied in all parti- 
cular modes of being as the idea of infinite space in all 
the geometrical figures by which space is limited I was 
pleased with the Cartesian opinion, that the idea of God 
is distinguished from all other ideas by involving its 
reality ; but I was not wholly satisfied. I began then 
to ask myself, what proof I had of the outward existence 
of any thing ? Of this sheet of paper, for instance, as a 
thing in itself, separate from the phosnomenon or image in 
my perception. I saw, that in the nature of things 
such proof is impossible ; and that of all modes of be- 
ing, that are not objects of the senses, the existence is 
assumed by a logical necessity arising from the consti- 
tution oftiie miiui itself, by the absence of all motive to 
doubt it, not from any absolute contradiction in the sup- 
position of the contrary. Still, the existence of a being, the 
ground of all existence, was not yet the existence of a 
moral creator and governor. '' In the position, that all 
reality is either contained in the necessary being as an 
attribute^ or exists through him, as its ground^ it remains 
undecided wliether the properties of intelhgence and 
will are to be referred to the Supreme Being in the for- 
mer, or only in the latter sense ; as inherent attributes, or 
only as consequences that have existence in other things 
through him. Thus, organization and motion, are re- 
garded 2isfrom God, not in God. Were the latter the 
truth, then, notwithstanding all the pre-eminence which 
must be assigned to the Eternal First from the suffi- 
ciency, unity, and independence of his being, as the 


dread ground of the universe, his nature would yet fall 
fiiv short of that which we are bou!ul to conipreheud in 
the idea of God. For without any knowledge of deter- 
mining resolve of its own, it would ordy be a blind ne- 
cesbdry ground of other things and other spirits ; and 
thus would be distinguished from the fate of certain an- 
cient philosophers in no respect, but that of being more 
definitely and intelligibly described" Kant's einzig 
inoglicher Beweisgrund : verinischte Schriften, Znveiter Band^ 
§ 102 and 103. 

For a very long time, indeed, I could not reconcile 
personality with infinity ; and my head was with Spino- 
za, though my whole heart remained with Paul and John. 
Yet there had dawned upon me, even before 1 had met 
with the Critique of the Pure Reason, a certain guiding 
li2;ht. If the mere intellect could make no certain dis- 
covery of a holy and intelligent first cause, it might yet 
supply a demonstration, that no legitimate argument 
could be drawn from the intellect against its truth. And 
what is this more than St. Paul's assertion, that by wis- 
dom (more properly translated, by the powers of reason- 
ing) no man ever arrived at the knowledge of God ? 
What more than the sublimest, and, probably, the oldest 
book on earth, has taught us, 

Silver and gold man searcbeth rrt : 

Bringeth the ore out of the earth, anw darkness into light* 

But where findeth he wisdom ? 
Where is the place of understanding? 

The abyss crieth ; it is not in ine ! 
Ocean ecboeth back; not in me 1 

Whence then cometh wisdom ? 
Where dwelleth understanding ? 

Hidden from the eyes of the living : 
Kept secret from the fowls of heaven ! 

Hell and death answer : 

We have heard the rumour thereof from afar I 

God marketh out the road to it ; 
God knoweth its abiding place! 


He beholileth the ends of the earth ; 

He surveyeth what is b^^neath the heavens ! I 

And as he weip:hed out the winds, and measured the sea, 

And appointed laws to the rain, 

And a path to t^e thunder, 

A path to the flashes of the lightningi 

Then did he see it, 

And he counted it ; 

He stjarched into the depth thereof, 

And with a line did he compass it round ! 

But to man he said, 

The fear of the J^ord is wisdom for thee I 

And to avoid evil, 

That is thy understanding. 

Job, Chap. 28th. 

I became convinced, that religion, as both the corner- 
stone and the key-stone "of morality, mnst have a moral 
origin ; so far at least, that the evidence of its doctrines 
could not, like the truths of abstract science, be wholly in- 
dependent of the will. It were therefore lo be expect- 
ed, that lis fundamental truth would be such as might be 
idenied ; though only, by the /oo/, and even by the fool 
from the madness of the heart alone I 

The question then concerning our faith in the exist- 
ence of a God, not only as the ground of the univ erse by 
his essence, but as its maker and judge by his wisdom 
and holy will, appeared to stand thus : The sciential 
reason, whose objects are purely theoretical, remains 
neutral, as long as its name and semblance are not usurp- 
ed by the opponents of the doctrine. But it then be- 
comes an effective ally by exposing the false show of 
demonstration, or by evincing the equal demonstrability 
of the contrary from premises equally logical. 7\he un- 
derstanding mean time suggests, the analog;, of experi- 
ence facilitates, the belief. Natur.3 excites i-^d retiUs it, 
«g by a perpet hil revelation. Our feelings almost ne-; 
cessitate it ; and the law of conscience peremptorily 
commands it The arg-nroents, that at all ap{ I3 to it, 
are in its favour ; and there is notbinof ag:airie^i it, bi-tits 
own subhmity. It could not be inteliectuaiiy more evi- 


dent without becoming morally less effective ; ■without 
countera' ting its own end, by s.^criiicing the life of faith 
to the cold mechanism of ;i worthless, because compulso- 
ry assent. The belief of a God and a future state (if a 
passive acquiescence may be flattered with the name of 
belief) does not indeed always beget a good heart ; but 
a good heart so naturally begets the belief, that the very 
^Qw exceptions must be regarded as strange anomalies 
from strange and unfortunate circumstances. 

From these premises I proceeded to draw the following 
conclusions. First, that having once fully admitted the 
existence of an infinite yet self-conscious Creator, we are 
not allowed to ground the irrationality of any other arti- 
cle of faith on arguments which would equally prove that 
to be irrational which we had allowed to be real. Se- 
condly, that whatever is deducible from the admission of 
a self comprehending and creative spirit, may be legiti- 
mately used in proof of the possibiuty of any further mys- 
tery concerning the divine nature, Possibilitatem myste- 
riorum, (Trinitatis, &c.,) contra insultus Infidelium et 
Hereticorum a contradictionibus vindico ; baud quidem ve- 
ritatem^ quee revelatione sola stabiliri possit ; says Leib- 
nitz, in a letter to his Duke. He then adds the follow- 
ing just and important remark : *' In vain will tradition 
or texts of scripture be adduced in support of a doctrine, 
donee clava impossibilitatis et contradictionis e manibus 
horum Herculum extorta fuerit. For the heretic will 
still reply, that texts, the literal sense of which is not so 
much above as directly against all reason, must be under- 
stood ^^?/rarrc)e/i/, as Herod is a fox, &c." 

These principles I hc\d, philosophically, while, in re- 
spect of revealed religion, 1 remained a zealous Unita- 
iian. I considered the idea of the Trinity a fair scho- 
lastic inference from the being of God, as a creative in- 
telligence ; and that it was, therefore, entitled to the rank 
of an esoteric doctrine of natural religion. But seeing in 
the same no practical or moral bearing, I confined it to 
the scl^ols of philosophy. The admission of the logos, 
as hypostasized, (i. e. neither a mere attribute or a per- 
sonification,) in no respect removed tuy doubts concern- 
ing the incarnation and the redemption by the cross ; 
which I could neither reconcile in reason with the im- 
passiveness of the Divine Being, nor, in my moral feel- 

VoL. L 11 


^ngs, with the sacred distinction between thfngs and per- 
sons, the vicarious payment of a debt, and the vicarious 
expiation of guilt. A more thorough revolution in my 
philosophic principles, and a deeper insight into my own 
heart, were yet wanting. Nevertheless, I cannot doubt, 
that the difference of my metaphysical notions from those 
of Unitarians in general, contributed (o my final re-con- 
version to the whole truth in Christ ; even as, according 
to his own confession, the books of certain Platonic phi- 
losophers, [Ubri quorundam Platonicorum,) commenced 
the rescue of St. Augustine's faith from the same error, 
aggravated by the far darker accompaniment of the Ma- 
nicha^an heresy. 

While my mind was thus perplexed, by a gracious pro- 
vidence, for which I can never be slifficiently grateful, the 
generous and munificent patronage of Mr. Josiah, and 
Mr. Thomas Wedgewood, enabled me to finish my edu- 
cation in Germany. Instead of troubling others with my 
own crude notions and juvenile compositions, I was thence- 
forward better employed in attempting to store my own 
head with the wisdom of others. I made the best use of 
my time and means ; and there is, therefore, no period 
of my life on which I can look back with such unmingled 
satisfaction. After acquiring a tolerable sufficiency in 
the German language^ at Ratzeburg, which, with my voy- 

* To who design to acquire the lan^iage of a country in the 
<ountry itself, it may he useful if I mention the incalculable advantage 
vvhich'I derived from learning all the words that could possibly be so 
learnt, with the objects before me, and without the inteiTnediation of the 
English terms. It'was a regular part of my morning studies, for the first 
six weeks of my residence at Ratzeburg, to accompany the good and 
kind old pastor w ith w^hom I lived, from the cellar to the roof, through 
gardens, farm yards, &c., and to call every, the minutest, thing by its Ger- 
man name. Advertisements, farces, jest books, and the conversation of 
children while I was at play with them, contributed their share to a more 
home-like acquaintance with the language than I could have acquired 
from works of polite literature alone, or even from polite society. There 
is a passage of hearty sound sense in Luther's German letter on interpre- 
tation, to the translation of which I shall prefix, for the sake of those who 
read the German, yet are not likely to have dipt often in the massive fo- 
lios of this heroic reformer, the simple, sinewy, idiomatic words of the 
©riginal. *' Denn man muss nicht die Buchstaben in der Laftimschea 
Spr-iche fragen wie man soil Deutsch rcden ; sondern man muss die mut- 
ter im Hause, die Kinder auf den Gassen, den gemeinen Mann auf dem 
Markte, darum fragen : und denselbigen auf das Maul sehen wie sie re- 
den, und darnach dollmetschen. So verstehen sie es denn, und merken 
dass man Deutsch mit ihnen redet." 


For one must not ask the letters in the Latin tongue, how^ one ought t9 
speak Gennan : but one must ask the mother in the^house, the children in 
tae^lan^s and alleys, the common man in the n>arket, concerning this 


age and journey thither, I have described in The Friend^ 
I proceeded through Hanover to Gottingen. 

Here I regularly attended the lectures on physiology 
in the naorniiig, and on natural history in the evening, un- 
der Blumenbach, a name as dear to every Englishman 
who has studied at that university, as it is venerable to 
men of science throughout Europe ! Eichhorn's lectures 
on the New Testament were repeated to me from notes 
hf a student from Ratzeburg, a young man of sound 
learning and indefatigable industry ; who is now, I be- 
lieve, a professor of the oriental languages at Heidelberg.. 
But my chief efforts were directed towards a grounded 
knowledge of the German language and literature. From 
professor Tychsen, I received as many lessons m the 
Gothic of Ulphilas as sufficed to make me acquainted 
with its grammar, and the radical words of most frequent 
occurrence ; and with the occasional assistance oi the 
bame philosophical linguist, I read through Ottfried's^ 

yea, and look at the moves of their mouths while they are talking, and 
thereafter interpret. They understand you then, and'mark that one talks 
German with them. 

* This paraphrase, written about the time of Charlemag^ne, is by no 
means deficient in occasional passages of considerable poetic merit. 
Therr^ is a flow, and a tender enthusiasm in the following- lines, (at the 
conclusion of Chapter Y.) which even in the translation. Mill not, 1 flatter 
Diyself, fail to interest the reader. Ottfried is describing the circumstaft- 
<ies immediately following the birth of our Lord. 

She gave with joy her virgin breast; 
She hid it not, she bared the breast, 
Which suckled that divinest babe ! 
Blessed, blessed were the breasts 
Which the Saviour infant kiss'd ; 
And blessed, blessed was the mother 
Who wranp'd his limbs in swaddling clothe?. 
Singing placed him on her lap. 
Hung o'er him with her looks of love, 
And soothed him with a lulling motion. 
Blessed •' for she shelter'd him • 

From the damp and chilling air ; 
Blessed, blessed .' for she lay 
With such a babe in one blest becj., 
Close as babes and mothers lie ! 
Blessed, blessed evermore, 
With her virgin lips she kiss'd, 
W'ith her arms, and to her breast 
She embraced the babe divine, 
Her babe divine the virgin mother I 
There lives not on this ring of ear^ 
A mortal, that can sing htrpraig€. 
Mighty mother, virgin pure^ 


iiieti icnl parnplirase of the gospel, and the most important 
remains of the Theotiscan, or the transitional state of 
the Teutonic laiiguaoe from the Gothic to the old German 
of the Swabian period. Of this period (the polished dia- 
lect of which is analogous to that of our Chaucer, and 
which leaves the philosophic student in doubt, whether 
the languac^e has not since then lost more in sweetness 
and flexibility, than it has gained in condensation and co- 
piousness) 8 read with sedulous accuracy the Minnesin- 
ger (or singers of love, the provencal poets of the Swa- 
bian court) and the metrical romances ; and then labour- 
ed through sufficient specimens of the master singers^ their 
degenerate successors ; not, however, without occasional 
pleasure from the rude yet interesting strains of Haj^s 
Sachs, the cobler of Nuremberg. Of this man's genius, 
five I'olio volumes, with double columns, are extant in print, 
and nearly an equal number in manuscript ; yet. the in- 
defatigable bard takes care to inform his readers, that he 
never made a shoe the Uss^ but had virtuously reared a 
large family by the labour of his hands. 

in Pindar, Chaucer, Dante, Milton, &c. &c we have 
instances of the close connexion of poetic genius with the 
Jove of liberty and of genuine reformation. Thr moral 
sense at least will not be outraged, if I add to the list the 
name of this honest shoemaker (a trade, by the bye, re- 
markable for the production of philosophers and poets.) 
His poem entitled the Morning Star, was the very first 
publication that appeared in praise and support of Lu- 
ther ; and an excellent hymn of Hans Sachs, which has 
been deservedly translated into almost all the European 
janguages, was commonly sung in the Protestant churches, 
whenever the heroic reformer visited them. 

In Luther's own German writings, and eminently in 
his transittion of the bible, the German language com- 
menced. I mean the language, as it is at present writ' 
ten ; that which is called the High German, as contra- 
distinguished from the Platt-Teltsch, the dialect of 

In the darkness and the ni<^}it 
For us she borttXic heavenly Lord ! 

Most intr re sting is it to consider the effect, when the feelings are 
wroiiprht above the tiatural pitch by the belief of something mystt-rioiis, 
while all the images are purely natural* Then it is, that religion and 
poetry strike deepest. 


f he flat or northern countries, and from the OeER-TEUTScif,^ 
the language of the middle and southern Germany. The 
High German is indeed a lingua communis not actually 
the native language of any province, but the choice and 
fragrancy of all the dialects. From this cause it is at 
once the most copious and the most grammatical of all the 
European tongues. 

Within^less than a century after Luther's death, the Ger- 
man was inundated with pedantic barbarisms. A few vo- 
lumes of this period 1 read through from motives of cu- 
riosity ; for it is not easy to imagine any thing more fan- 
tastic, than the very appearance of their pages. Almost 
every third word is a Latin word with a Germanized end- 
ing ; the Latin portion being always printed in Roman 
letters, while in the last syllable the German character i^ 

At length, about the year 1620, Opitz arose, whose 
genius more nearly resembled that of Dryden than any 
other poet, who at present occurs to my recollection. In 
the opinion of Lessing, the most acute of critics^, and of 
Adelung, the first of Lexicographers, Opitz, and the 
Silesian poets, his followers, not only restored the lan- 
guage, but still remain the models of pure diction. A 
stranger has no vote on such a question ; but after repeat- 
ed perusals of th€ work, my feelings justified the verdict, 
and I seemed to have acquirecl from them a sort of toct 
for what is genuine in the style of later writers. 

Of the splendid era which commenced with Gellert, 
Klopstock, Ramler, Lessing, and their compeers, I need 
not speak. With the opportunities which I enjoyed, it 
would have been disgraceful not to have been familiar 
with their writings ; and I have already said as much as 
the present biographical sketch requires concerning the 
German philosophers, whose works, for the greater part, 
I became acquainted with at a far later period. 

Soon after my return from Germany, I was solicited to 
undertake the literary and political' department, in the 
3Iorning Post ; and I acceded to the proposal, oa the 
condition that the paper should,* thenceforward, be con- 
ducted on certain Exed and announced principles, and that 
I should be neither obliged or requested to deviate front 
shem, in favor of any party or any events In consequence. 
that Joumal became., and for many years cantiGuedu_ (mti^ 


ministerial indeed ; yet, with a very qualified approbation 
of (he op[iOsitioii, and with far greater earnestness and 
zerii, both anti-jacobin and anti-gallican. To this hour, I 
cannot find reason to approve of the first war, either in 
its commencement or its conduct. Nor can 1 understand 
with what reason, either Mr. Percival, (whom I am sin- 
gular enough to regard as the best and wisest minister of 
this reign,) or the present administration, can be said to 
have pursued the plans of Mr. Pitt. The love of their 
country, and perseverant hostility to French principles 
and French ambition are, indeed, honourable qualities, 
common to them and to their predecessors. Butitap- 
appears to me as clear as the evidence of facts can ren- 
der any question of history, that the successes of the Per- 
cival and of the existing ministry, have been owing to 
their having pursued measures the direct contrary to Mr, 
Pitt's. Such, for instance, are the concentration of the 
national force to one object ; the abandonment of the 
subsidizing policy, so far, at least, as neither to goad or 
bribe the continental courts into war, till the convictions 
of their subjects had rendered it a war of their own se<^k- 
ing ; and, above all, in their manly and generous reliance 
on the good sense of the English people, and on that 
loyalty which is linked to the very heart^ of the n..tion, 
by the system of credit, and the interdependence of pro- 

* Lord Grenville has lately re-asserted, (ia the Hosse of Lords.) the 
imminent danger of a revolution .in the earlier part of the war against 
France. I doub^ not that his Lordship is sincere ; and it must be i^iitter- 
ina' to his feelings to believe it. Bui where are the evidenc cs of the diRger, 
to'whitli a future historian can appeal? Or must he rest on an as- rrion ? 
Let me be permitted to extract a passtige on the subject from The Friend. 
*t I have said that to withstand the arguments of the lawless, the AnU jaco- 
bins proposed to suspend the law, and by the interposition of a pattcular 
statute, to eclipse the blessed hght of the universal sun, that spies .ind in- 
jormers might tyrannize and es* ape in the ominous darkness. Oh ! if these 
icnistaken men, intoxicated and bewildered with the panic of property, 
which they themselves were the chief agents in exciting, had eve^ h^. ed in 
a country where thci-e really existed a genera! disposition to change and 
rebellion ! Had they ever travelled through Sicily : or through Franc e at 
the first coming on of the revolution ; or even, alas ! through' too iiranv of 
the provinces of a sister island ; they could not but have shrunk from tKeir 
own declarations concerning the state of feeling, an ophiion at that time 
prf;dominant throughout Great Britain. There was a time, (heaven ^ rant ! 
that that time may have passed by,) when, by crossing a narrow strait, 
they might have learnt- <he true 'symptoms oi approacning danger, and 
have secured themseiv; s from n-i^taking the meetings and idle i-ant of 
such sedition, as shrunk appalh^d frc^ji the sight of a constable, for the dire 
murmuring 8ind strange consternation whicS precedes the storm or ear**hr- 


Be this as it may, I am persuaded that the Morning' 
Post proved a far more useful ally to the government in 
its most important objects, in consequence of its being 
generally considered as moderately anti-ministerial, than 
if it had been the avowed eulogist of Mr. Pitt. (The 
few, whose curiosity or fancy should lead them to turn 
over the Journals of that date, may find a small proof of 
this in the frequent charges made by the Morning Chro- 
nicle, that such and such essays or leading paragraphs had 
been sent from the treasury.) The rapid and unusual 
increase in the sale of the Morning Post, is a sufficient 
pledge that genuine impartiality, with a respectable por- 
tion of literary talent, will secure the success of a news- 
paper, without the aid of party or ministerial patronage. 
But by impartiality I mean an honest and enlightened 
adherence to a code of intelligible principles, previously 
announced, and faithfully referred to, in suppart of every 

quake of national discord. Not onlj in coffee-houses and public theatres, 
but even at the tables of the wealthy, they woii'd have heard the advocates 
of existing- government defend their cause in the language and with the 
tone of njen. who are consc ious that tiiey arc in a minority. But in Eng- 
land, when the alarm was at its highest, there was not a city, no, not a 
town or village, in which a man suspected of holding democratic princi- 
ples could move abroad without receiving some unplesant proof of the 
Hatred, in whic h his supposed opinions were held by tlie great majority of 
the people; and the only instances of popular excess ai'd indignation, 
were in favour of the government and tne established church. But why 
need I appeal to these invidious facts ? Turn over the pages of history, and 
seek for a single instance of a revolution having been effected without the 
concurrence of either the nobles, or the ecclesiastics, or the monied classes,, 
in any country in which the influences of property had ever been predc- 
minant, and where the interests of the proprietors were interlinked I Exa- 
miH'? the revolution of the Belgic provinces under Philip 2nd ; the civil war« 
of France in the preceding generation ; the history oi the American revo- 
luuun, or the yet m.ore recent events in Sweden and in Spain ; and it will 
be scarcely possible not to perceive, that in England, from 1791, to the 
peace of Ainiens, there were neither tendencues to confederacy, nor actual 
confederacies, against which the existing laws had not provided sufficient 
safeguards and an ample punishment. But alas! the p^nic of property 
had been struck, in the first instance, for party purposes ; and when it 
became general, its propagators caught it theniselves, and ended m be- 
lieving their own lie ; even as our bulls in Borrowdale sometimes run mad 
with the echo of their own bellowing. The consequences were most in- 
jur ous. Our attention was concentrated to a monster, which could not 
survive the convulsions in whicN it had been brought forth: even the 
enlightened Burke himself, too often talking and reasoning, as if a per- 
petual and organized anarchy had been a possible thing .' Thus, while 
we were warring against French doctrines, we tQok little heed whether 
the meaiis, by which ws attempted to overthrow them, were not likely 
to :Ad ..rid au-;merit the far more formidable evil of French ambition. Like- 
ch'ld;en, wc ran away from the yelping of a cur, and took shelter, at ihst 
iieels of a vicious war-borae»'* 


judgment on men and events ; not indiscriminate abuse, . 
not the indulgence of an editor's own malignant passions ; 
and still le?s,if tint be possible, a determination to make 
money by flattering the envy and cupidity, the vindictive 
restlessness and self-conceit of the half-witted vulgar ; a 
determidation almost fiendish, but which, I have been in- 
formed, has been boastfully avowed by one man, the most 
notorious of these mob- sycophants ! From the commence- 
ment of the Addington administration to the present da}', 
whatever I have written in the Morning Post, or, (after 
that paper was transferred to other proprietors,) in the 
Courier, has been in defence or furtherance of the 
measures af government. 

Things of this nature scarce survive the night 
That g'ives tbem birth ; they perish in the sight, 
Cast by so far from afler-life^ that there 
Can scarcely aught be said, but that they were ! 

Cartwright's Prol, to the Royal Slave, 

Yet in these labours I employed, and, in the belief of 
partial friends, wasted, the prime and manhood of my in* 
tellect. Most assuredly, they added nothing to my for- 
tune or my reputation. The industry of the week sup-^ 
plied the necessities of the week. From Government or 
the friends of Government I not only never received re- 
muneration, or even expected it ; but I was never ho- 
noured with a single acknowledgment, or expression of 
satisfaction. Yet the retrospect is far from painful or 
matter of regret. I am not indeed silly enough to take, 
as any thing more than a violent hyperbole of party de- 
bate, Mr. Fox's asssertion that the late w^ar (I trust that 
the epithet is not prematurely applied) teas a war prod iic- 
srd by the PrloRMXG Post ; or I should be proud to have 
the words inscribed on my tomb. As little do I regard 
the circumstance, that 1 was a speciiied object of Bona- 
parte's resentment during my residence in Italy, in con- 
sequence of those essays in the 3Iorning Post, during the 
peace of Amiens. (Of this I was warned, directly, by 
Baron Von Humboldt, the Prussian Plenipotentiary, who 
nt that time was the minister of the Prussian court at 
Rome ; aad indirectly, through lii": secretary. CardiiVi)- 


Fesch himself.) Nor do T lay any greater weiglitonthe 
contirmins fact, that an order for my arrest was sent from 
Paris, from which danger I was rescued by the kindness 
of a noble Benedictine, and the gracious connivance of 
that good old man, the present Pope For the late ty- 
rants vindictive appetite was omnivorrus, and preyed 
equally on a Due D'Enghien,* iind the writer of a news- 
paper paragraph. Like a true vulture,! Napoleon, with 
an eye not less telescopic, and with a taste equally coarse 
in his ravin, could descend from the most dazzling heights 
to pounce on the leveret in the brake nr even on the 
field mouse amid the grass. But I do derive a gratifica- 
tion from the knowle«5ge, that my essays contributed to 
introduce the practice of placing the questions and events 
of the day in a moral point of view ; in giving a dignity 
to particular measures, by tracing their policy or impolicy 
to permanent principles ; and an interest to principles 
by the application of them to individual measures. In Mr. 
Burke's writings, indeed, the germs of almost all political 
truths may be found. But 1 dare assume to myself the 
merit of having first explicitly defined and analized the 
nature of Jacobinism ; and that in distinguishing the ja- 
cobin from the republican, the democrat and the mere 
demagogue, I both rescued the word from remaining a 
aaere term of abuse, and put on their guard many honest 
minds, who even in their heat of zeal againstjacobinism, ad- 
[nitled or supported principles from which the worst parts 
3f that system may be legitimately deduced. That these 
ire not necessary prachca/ results of such principles, we 
Dwe to that fortunate inconsequence of our nature, which 
permits the heart to rectify the errors of the understand- 
ng. The detailed examination of the consular govern- 
nent and its pretended constitution, and the proof given 

* I seldom think of the murder of this illustrious Prince without recoU 
iiecting the lines of Valerius Flaccus (Argonaut. Lib. I. 30.) 

■ Super ipsius ingens 

Instat fama viri, virtusque haud laeta Tyraano ; 
JElrgo ante ire metus, juvenemque extinguere pergit. 

t 0T»ja 5i )(aJ Tov x^va xa\ r-hv AojxdJa, 
Kfli idv Aa^wivj xal to twv Tai/^cov yivos. 

Phile de animal, propriisii 


by me, that it was a consummate despotism in masque- 
rade, extorted a recantation even from the Morning Chro- 
nicle, which had previously extolled this constitution as 
the perfection of a wise and regulated liberty. On every 
great occurrence, I endeavored to discover in past his- 
tory the event that most nearly resembled it. 1 procured, 
wherever it was possible, the contemporary historians, 
memorialists, and pamphleteers. Then fairly subtract- 
ing the points of difference from those of likeness, as the 
balance favoured the former or the latter, 1 conjectured 
that the result would be the same or different. In the 
series of essays,"^ entitled, *' a comparison of France under 
Napoleon with Rome under the first Caesars," and in 
those which followed'' on the probable final restoration 
of the Bourbons," I feel myself authorized to affirm, by 
the effect produced on many intelligent men, that were 
the dates wanting, it might have been suspected that the 
essays had been written within the last twelve months. 
The same plan I pursued at the commencement of the 
Spanish revolution, and with the same success, taking 
the war of the United Provinces with Phihp 2nd, as the 
ground work of the comparison. I have mentioned this 
from no motives of vanity, nor even from motives of self- 
defence, which would justify a certain degree of ego- 
tism, especially if it be considered, how oflen and grossly 
I have been attacked for sentiments which 1 had exerted 
my best powers to confute and expose, and how griev- 
ously these charges acted to my disadvantage while I was 
in Malta. Or, rather, they would have done so, if my 
own feelings had not precluded the wish of a settled es- 
tablishment in that island. But 1 have mentioned it from 
the full persuasion that, armed with the two-fold knowledge 
of history and the human mind, a man will scarcely err 
in his judgment concerning the sum total of any future 
national event, if he have been able to procure the ork, 

* A small selection from the numerous articles furnished by me to thi' 
Mornino: Post and Courier, chiefly as ihey regard the sources and effects 
of jacobinism and the connection of certain systems of political econoraj ' 
with Jacobinical despotism, will form part of '' The Friend," which 11 | 
am now completing-, and which will be shortly published, for I caij 
scarcely say republished, with the numbers arranged in Chapters ^o| 
carding to their subjects. 

Accipe principium rursus, cornusque coadum 
D^sere ; mutata melior proceae figura. 



ginal documents of the past, together with authentic Rt- 
counts of the present, and if he have a philosophic tact for 
what is truly important in ficts, and in most instances, 
therefore, for such facts as the dignity of history has 
excluded from the volumes of our modern compilers, by 
the courtesy of the age, entitled historians. 

To have lived in vain must be a painful thought to any 
man, and especially so to him who has made literature his 
profession. I should therefore rather condole, than be 
angry, with the mind which could attribute to no wor- 
thier feelings, than those of vanity or self-love, the satis- 
faction which I acknowledge to have enjoyed from the 
republication of my political essays (either whole or as 
extracts) not only in many of our own provincial papers, but 
in the federal journals throughout America. I regarded it 
as some proof of my not having laboured altogether in 
vain, that from the articles written by me shortly before, 
and at the commencement of the late unhappy war with 
America, not only the sentiments were adopted, but, in 
some instances, the very language, in several of the Mas- 
sachusetts state- papers. 

But no one of these motives, nor all conjointly, would 
nave impelled me to a statement so uncomfortable to my 
own feelings, had not my character been repeatedly at- 
tacked, by an unjustifiable intrusion on private life, as of 
a man incorrigibly idle, and who, intrusted not only with 
ample talents, but favoured with unusual opportunities 
of improving them, had nevertheless suffered them to 
rust away without any efficient exertion either for his 
own good or that of his fellow creatures. Even if the 
compositions, which I have made public, and that too in 
a form the most certain of an extensive circulation, though 
the least flattering to an author's self-love, had been pub- 
lished in books, they would have filled a respectable 
number of volumes, though every passage of merely tem- 
porary interest were omitted. My prose WTitings have 
been charged with a disproportionate demand on the at- 
tention ; with an excess of refinement in the mode of ar- 
riving at truths ; with beating the ground for that which 
might have been run down by the eye ;. with the length 
and laborious construction of my periods ; in short, with 
obscurity and the love of paradox. But my severest 
critics have not pretended to have found in mj composi- 


tions triviality, or traces of a mind that shrunk from the 
toil of thinking. Ko one has charged me with tricking 
out in other words the thoughts of others, or with hash- 
ing up anew the crambe jam decies coctam of English 
literature or philosophy. Seldom have I written that in 
a day. the acquisition or investigation of which had not 
cost me the previous labour of a month. 

But are books the only channel through which the 
stream of intellectual usefulness can tiow ? Is tht^ diffu- 
sion of truth to be estimated by publications ; or publica- 
tions by the truth which they diffuse, or at least contain ? 
I speak it in the excusable warmth of a mind stun>c by an 
accusation which has not only been advanced in reviews 
of the widest circulation, not only registered in the btilk- 
iest works of periodical literature, but, by frequency of 
repetition, has become an admitted fact in private litera- 
ry circles, and thoughtlessly repeated by too many who 
call themselves my friends, and whose own recollections 
ought to have suggested a contrary testimony. Would 
that the criterion of a scholar's utility were the number 
and moral value of the truths which he has been the 
means of throwing into the general circulation ; or the 
number and value of the minds, whom, by his conversa- i 
tion or letters, he has excited into activity, and sTipplied I 
with the germs of their aftergrowth I A distinguished 
rank might not, indeed, even then, be awarded to my 
exertions, but I should dare look forward with confidence i 
to an honourable acquittal, i should dare appeal to the I 
numerous and respectable audiences, which, at diiierent 
times, and in different places, honoured my lecture-rooms 
with their attendance, whether the points of view from 
which the subjects treated of were surveyed, whether 
the grounds of my reasoning were such, as they had 
heard or read elsewhere, or have since found in previ- 
ous publications. I can conscientiously declare, that the 
complete success of the Remorse on the first night of its 
representation, did not give me as great or as heart-felt 
a pleasure, as the observation that the pit and boxes 
w^ere crowded with faces familiar to me, though of indi- 
viduals whose names i did not know, and of whom I 
knew nothing, but that they had attended one or other 
ofmy (ourses of lectures. It is an excellent, though 
perhaps somewhat vulgar proverbj that there are cases 


where a man may be ^s well " in for a pound as for a 
p€7iny.''^ To those, who from ignorance of the serious 
injury I have received from this rumour of having 
dreamt away my life to no purpose, injuries which 1 
\inwillingly remember at ail, much less am disposed to 
record in a sketch of my literarj^ life ; or to those, who 
from their own feelings, or the gratification they derive 
from thinking contemptuously of others, would, like Job's 
comforters, attribute these complaints, extorted from me 
by the sense of wrong, to self-conceit or presumptuous 
vanity, I have already furnished such ample materi ds, 
that I shall gain nothing by witholding the remainder. 
I will not, therefore, hesitate to ask the consciences of 
those, who, from their long acquaintance with me and 
with the circumstances, are best qualified to decide, or be 
my judges, whether the restitution of the suum cuique 
would increase or detract from my literary reputation. 
In this exculpation, I hope to be understood as speaking 
of myself comparatively, and in proportion to the claims 
which others are entitled to make on my time or my 
talents. By what I have efiected, am I to be judged by 
my fellow men ; what I coidd have done, is a question 
for my own conscience. On my own account I may 
perhaps have had sufficient reason to lament my deficien- 
cy in self-controul, and the neglect of concentreing my 
powers to the realization of some permanent work. 
But to verse rather than to prose, if to either, belongs 
the voice of mourning" for 

Keen pangs of love awakening as a babe, 

Turbulent, with an outcry in the heart, 

And fears self-will'd thatshunn'd the eye of hope, 

And hope that scarce would know itself from fear; 

Sense of past youth, and manhood come in vain 

And genius given and knowledge won in vain, 

And all which 1 had culPd in wood-walks wild, 

And all which patient toil had rear'd, and all 

Commune with thee had open'd out — but flowers 

Strew'd on my corpse, and borne upon my bier 

In the same coffin, for the self-same grave ! S. T. C. 

These wil) exist, for the future, I trust, only in the po- 
etic strains, which the feelings at the time called forth. 
In those only, gentle readerj 

Vol. L 12 


Affectus animi varies, bellumque sequacis 
Perlegis iovidiae ; curasque revolvis inanes ; 
Quas humilis tenero stylus olim effudit in asvo. 
Ferlegis et lacrymas, et quod pharetralus acut^ 
Ille puer puero fecit mihi cuspide vulnus. 
Omnia paulatim consumit long tor jet as 
VivEyDoq^vE simul morimur bapimurque manendo. 
Ipse mihi collatus enim nou iile videbor ; 
FroDS alia est, moresque alii, nova mentis imago, 
Vox aliudque sonat. Jamque observatio vil^ 
Multa dedit j— lug-ere nihil, ferre omnia ; jamque 
Paulatim lacrymas rerura experientia tersit. 



dn affectionate exhortation to those who in early life feel* 
themselves disposed to become authors. 

It was a favourite remark of the late Mr. Whitbread, 
that no man does any thing from a single motire. The 
separate motives, or, rather, moods of mind, which pro- 
duced the preceding reflections and anecdotes have been 
laid open to the reader in each separate instance But^ 
an interest in the welfare of those who. at the present 
time, may be in circumstances not dissimilar to my own 
at my first entrance into life, has been the constant ac- 
companiment, and, (as it were,) the under-song of all 
my feelings. Whitehead, exerting the prerogative of his 
laureatship, addressed to youthful poets a poetic charge, 
which is perhaps the best, and certainly the most inte- 
resting of his works. With no other privilege than that 
of sympathy and sincere good wishes, 1 would address 
an affectionate exhortation to the youthful literati, ground- 
ed on my own experience. It will be but short ; for the 
beginning, middle, and end, converge to one charge : 

ception of one extraordinary man, I have never known 
an individual, least of all an individual of genius, healthy 
or happy without a profession^ i. e. some regular employ- 
ment which does not depend on the will of the moment, 
and which can be carried on so far mechanically , that an 
average quantum only of health, spirits, and intellectual 
exertion, are requisite to its faithful discharge. Three 
hours of leisure, unannoyed hy any alien anxiety, and 
looked forward to with delight as a change and recrea- 
tion, will suffice to realize in literature a larger product 
of what is truly genial^ than weeks of compulsion. Mo- 
ney and immediate reputation, form only an arbitrary and 
accidental end of literary labour. The hope of increas- 
ing them by any given exertion, will often prove a stimu- 
lant to industry ; but the necessity of acquiring them, 
will, in a]] works of genius, convert the stimulant into a 
narcotic. Motives by excess reverse their very nature^ 


'^nd. instead of exciting, stun and stupify the mind. For 
it is one contradistinction of genius from talent, that ils 
predominant end is always comprised in the means ; and 
Ihis is one of the many points which establish an analogy 
between genius and virtue. Now, though talents may 
exist without genius^ yet as genius cannot exist, certainly 
not manifest itself, without talents, I would advise every 
scholar who feels the genial power working within him, 
so far to make a division between the two, as that he 
, should devote his talents to the acquirement of compe- 
tence in some known trade or profession, and his genius 
to objects of his tranquil and unbiassed choice ; while the 
consciousness of being actuated in both alike by the sin- 
cere desire to perform his duty, wmII alike ennoble both. 
My dear young friend, (1 would say,) " suppose your- 
self €v-tablished in any honourable occupation. From the 
manufactory, or counting-house, from ihe law court or 
from having visited your last patient, you return at even- 

** Dear tranquil time, when the sweet sense of home 
Is sweetest — — " 

to your family, prepared for its social enjoyments, with 
the very countenances of your wife and children bright- 
ened, and their voice of welcome, made doubly welcome 
by the knowledge that, as far as they are concerned, you 
have satisfied the demands of the day by the labour of 
the day. Then, when you retire into your study, in the 
books on your shelves, you revisit so many venerable 
friends witli whom you can converse. Your own spirit, 
scarcely less free from perj?onal anxieties than the great 
minds that, in those books, are still living for you ! Even 
your writing desk, with its blank paper, and all its other" 
implements, will appear as a chain of flowers, capable of 
linking your feelings, as well as thoughts, to events and 
characters past or to come ; not a chain of iron, which 
binds you down to think of the future, and the remote, by 
recalling the claims and feelings of the peremptory pre- 
.sent. But why should 1 say retire ? The habits of ac- 
tive life and daily intercourse with the stir of the world, 
will tend to give you such self-command, that the pre- 
sence of your family will be no interruption Nay, the 
aocial silence or undisturbing voices of a wife or sister. 


will be like a restorati^'e atmosphere, or soft music, which 
moulds a dream without becoming its object. If facts 
are required, to prove the possibility of combining weighty 
performances in literature with full and independent em- 
ployment, the works of Cicero and Xenophon among the 
ancients, of Sir Thomas Moore, Bacon, Baxter, or, to 
refer, at once, to later and contemporary instances, Dar- 
win and RoscoE, are at once decisive of the question. 

But all men may not dare promise themselves a suffi- 
ciency of self-controul for the imitation of those exam- 
ples ; though strict scrutiny should always be made, 
whether indolence, restlessness, or a vanity impatient for 
immediate gratification, have not tampered with the judg- 
ment, and assumed the vizard of humility, for the pur» 
poses of self-delusion. Still the church presents to every 
man of learning and genius a profession, in which he may 
cherish a rational hope of being able to unite the wildest 
schemes of literary utility with the strictest performance 
of professional duties. Among the numerous blessings of 
Christianity, the introduction of an established church 
makes an especial claim on the gratitude of scholars and 
philosophers ; in England, at least, where the principles 
of protestantism, have conspired with the freedom of the 
government, to double all its salutary powers by the re- 
moval of its abuses. 

That not only the maxims, but the grounds of a pure 
morality, the mere fragments of which, 

" the lofty grave tragedians taught 

In chorus or iambic, teachers best 

Of moral prudence, with delight received 

In brief sententious precepts ;" 

Paradise Regained* 

and that the sublime truths of the divine unity and attri- 
butes, which a Plato found most hard to learn, and deem- 
ed it still more difficult to reveal ; that these should have 
become the almost hereditary property of childhood and 
poverty, of the hovel and the workshop ; that, even to the 
unlettered, they sound as coimnon place ^ is a phenomenon, 
which must withhold all but minds of the most vulgar 
cast from undervaluing the services even of the pulpit 
and the reading desk. Yet those, who confine the effi 


ciency of an established church (o Ms public office?, can 
hardly be placet! in a much higher rank of intellect. 
That to every parish throughout the kingdom there is 
transplanted a germ of civilization ; th^t in the remotest 
villages there is a nucleus, round whi^ch the capabilities 
of the place may crystallize and brighten ; a model, suf- 
ficiently superior to excite, yet, sufficiently near to en- 
courage and facilitate imitation ; this, the inobtrusive, 
continuous agency of a protestant church establishment, 
this it is, which the patriot, and the philanthropist, who 
^ould fain unite the love of peace with the faith in the 
progressive ameUoration of mankind, cannot estimate at 
too high a price. " It cannot be valued with the gold of 
Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire. No men- 
tion shall be made of coral or of pearls, for the price 
of wisdom is above rubies." The clergyman is with his 
f)arishioners, and among them ; he is neither in the clois- 
tered cell or in the wilderness, but a neighbour and a 
family-man, whose education and rank admit him to the 
mansion of the rich landholder, while his duties make him 
the frequent visiter of the farm-house and the cottage. 
He is, or he may become, connected with the families of 
his parish, or its vicinity, by marriage. And among the 
instances of the blindness, or at best, of the short sight- 
edness, which it is the nature of cupidity to inflict, I 
know ievf moi'^ striking than the clamours of the far- 
m^^rs against church property. Whatever was not paid to 
the clergyman W'ould inevitably at the next lease be paid 
to the landholder ; while, as the case at present stand?, the 
revenues of the church are, in some sor\ the reversionary 
property of every family, that may have a member edu- 
cated for the church, or a daughter that may marry a 
clergyman, instead of being ^brec/os^c/ and immovable, 
it is in fact the only species of landed property that is 
essentially moving and circulative. That there exist no 
inconveniences, who will pretend to assort ? But I have 
yet to expect the proof, that the inconveniences are great- 
er in this than in any otner species; or, that either the 
farmers or the clergy would be benefited by forcing the 
latter to become Q\{he.v Trullibers. ox salaried p/aee.'?ien. 
Nay, r do not hesitate to declare my firm persuasion, that 
>vb'atever reason of discontent the farmers may assign the 
true catise is this; that they may cheat ihG parson^ but 


cannot cheat the steward ; and they are disappointed, if 
they shoul'i have been able to withhold only two pounds 
less than the legal claim, having expected to withhold 
five. At all events, considered relatively to the encour- 
agement of learning and genius, the establishment pre- 
sents a patronage, at once so effective and unburthensome, 
that it would be impossible to afford the like, or equal, in 
any but a christian and protestant country There is 
scarce a department of human knowledge, without some 
bearing on the various critical, historical, philosophical, 
and moral truths, in which, the scholar must be interested 
as a clergyman; no one pursuit worthy of a man of ge- 
nius, which may ^not be followed without incongruityo 
To give the history of the bible as a book, would be liUle 
less than to relate the origin, or first excitement, of all the 
literature and science, that we now possess. The very 
decorum, which the profession imposes, is favourable to 
the best purposes of genius, and- tends to counteract its 
most frequent defects. Finally, that man must be defi- 
cient in sensibility, who would not find an incentive to 
emulation in the great and burning lights, which, in a 
long series have illustrated the church of England ; who 
would not hear from within an echo to the voice from their 
sacred shrines, 

" Et Pater ^Eneas et avunculus excitat Hector." 

But, w^hatever be the profession or trade chosen, the 
advantages are many and important, compared with the 
stato of a mere literary maw, who, in any degree, depends 
on the sale of his works for the necessaries and comfi^rtS^ 
of iite. In the former a man lives in sympathy with the 
world in which he lives. At l^ast, he acquires a better 
and quicker tact tor the knowledge of that with which 
men in general can sympathize. He learns to manage 
his genius more prudently and efficaciously. His pow- 
ers and acquirements gain him likewise more real admi- 
ration, for they surpass the legitimate expectations of 
others. He is something besides an author, and is not 
therefore considered merel)^^ as an^ author. The hearts 
of men are open to him, as to one of their own class ; 
and whether he exerts himself or not in the conversa- 
tional circles ot bis acquaintaace^ his silence is not at- 


tributed to pride, nor Lis communicativeness to vanity. 
To tliese advantages 1 wiil venture to add a superior 
chance of happiness in domestic Hfe, w^ere it only that it 
is as natural for the man to be out of the circle of his 
household during the day, as it is meritorious for tiie 
woman to remain for the most part within it. But this 
subject involves points of consideration so numerous and 
so delicate, and would not only permit, but require such 
ample documents from the biography of literary men, 
that 1 now merely allude to it in transitu. When the 
same circumstance has occurred at very diflerent times 
to very different persons, all of whom have some one 
thing in common, there is reason to suppose that such 
circumstance is not merely attributable to the persons 
concerned, but is, in some measure, occasioned by the 
one point in common to them all. Instead of the vehe- 
ment and almost slanderous dehortation from marriage, 
which the Misogyne, Boccaccio (^Vita e Cost u mi di Dante, 
p. 12. 16.) addresses to literary men, I vt^ould substitute 
the simple advice : be not merely a man of letters ! Let 
literature be an honourable augmentation to your arms, 
but not constitute the coat, or till the escutchion ! 

To objections from conscience 1 can of course answer 
in no other wa}^, than by requesting the youthful ob- 
jector (as I have already done on a former occasion) to 
ascertain with strict self-examination, whether other in- 
fluences may not be at work ; whether spirits, " not of 
healih^'^ and with whispers *' not from heaven,^^ may not 
be walking in the ticilight of his consciousness. Let him 
catalogue his scruples, and reduce them to a distinct in- 
telligible form ; let him be certain, that he has read with 
*a docile mind and favourable dispositions the best and most 
fundamental works on the subject ; that he has had both 
mind and heart opened to the great and illustrious quah- 
ties of the many renowned characters, who had doubted 
like himself, and whose researches had ended in the 
clear conviction, that their doubts had been groundless, 
or at least in no proportion to the counter-weight. Hap- 
py will it be for such a man, if, among his contempora- 
ries elder than himself, he should meet with one, who 
with similar powers, and feelings as acute as his own, 
had entertained the same scruples ; had acted upon them ; 
and who, by after-research (when the step was, ala§ ' 


if retrievable, but for that very reason his research un- 
deniably disinterested) had discovered himself to have 
quarrelled with received opinions only to embrace er- 
rors, to have left the direction tracked out for him on 
the high road of honourable exertion, only to deviate in 
to a labyrinth, where, wlien he had wandered, till his 
head w^as giddy, his best good fortune was finally to have 
found his way out again, too late for prudence, though 
not too late for conscience or for truth ! Time spent 
in such delay is time won ; for manhood in the mean 
time is advancing, and with it increase of knowledge, 
strength of judgment, and, above all, temperance of feel- 
ings. And even if these should effect no change, vet 
the delay will at least prevent the final approval of the 
decision from being alloyed by the inward censure of the 
rashness and vanity, by which it had been precipitated. 
It would be a sort of irreligion, and scarcely less than a 
libel on human nature, to believe that there is any esta- 
blished and reputable profession or employment, in which 
a man may not continue to act with honesty and honour ; 
and, doubtless, there is likewise none, which may not at 
times, present temptations to the contrary. But woful- 
1}' will that man find himself mistaken, who imagines 
that the profession of literature, or (to speak more plain- 
ly) the trade of authorship, besets its members with few- 
er or with less insidious temptations, than the church, 
the law, or the different branches of commerce. But I 
have treated sufficiently on this unpleasant subject in an 
early chapter of this volume. I will conclude the pre- 
sent, therefore, with a short extract from Herder, whose 
name I might have added to the illustrious list of those, 
who have combined the successful pursuit of the muses, 
not only with the faithful discharge, but with the highest 
honours and honourable emoluments of an established 
profession. The translation the reader will find in a 
note below.* '' Am sorgfaltigsten, nieiden sie die Au- 
torschaft. Zu friih oder unmassig gebraucht, macht sie 
den Kopf wiiste und das Herz leer ; wenn sie auch sonst 

^Translation. — "With the greatest possible solicitude avoid author- 
ship. Too early, or immoderately employed, it makes the head waste and 
the heart empty ; even were there no other worse consequences. A per- 
son, who reads' only to print, in eill probability i^eads amiss j and he, who 


keine uble Folgen gkbe. Ein Mensch, der nur liesei 
urn zu driicken, iieset wahrscheinlich iibel ; und wer 
jeden Gedanken, der ihm aufstosst, darch Feder und 
Fresse versendet, hat sie in kurzer Zeit alle versandt, 
und wird bald ein blosser Diener der Druckerey, ein 
Buchstabensetzer vverden^ 


sfends awav^ throai^h the pen and the press, every thoug-ht, the moment it- 
occurs to fiim, wih in a short time have sent all a'way, and will become a 
mere journeyman of the printing-olTice, a compositor.''^ 

To which I may add from myself, that what medical physiolog:ists af^ 
firm of certain secretions, applies equally to our thoughts ; Ihey too must 
be taken up again into the circulation, and be again and again re-secret- 
ed, in order to ensure a h^^altlitul vigour, both to the mind and to its iiitel^ 
lectuai offs|)ring» 



j1 Chapter of requests and premonitions concerning the 
perusal or omission of the chapter thatfoUoTvs, 

In the perusal of philosophical works, I have been 
greatly benefitted by a resolve, which, in the antithetic 
form, and with the allowed quaintness of an adage or max- 
im, 1 have been accustomed to word thus : " until you un- 
derstand a writer^s ignorance, presume yoursef ignorant 
of his understanding,'^^ This golden ride of mine does, I 
own, resemble those of Pythagoras, in its obscurit}^ rather 
than in its depth. If, however, the reader will permit 
me to be my own Hierocles, I trust that he will find its 
meaning fully explained by the following instances. I 
have now before me a treatise of a religious fanatic, full 
of dreams aud supernatural experiences, I see clearly the 
writer's grounds, and their hollowness. I have a com- 
plete insight into the causes, which, through the medium 
of his body, had acted on his mind ; and by applica- 
tion of received and ascertained laws, I can satisfactorily 
explain to my own reason all the strange incidents which 
the tvriter records of himself And this I can do without 
suspecting him of any intentionrtl falsehood. As when in 
broad day-light a man tracks tlie ste])s of a traveller, who 
had lost his way in a fog, or by treacherous moonshine ; 
even so, and with the same tranquil sense of certainty, 
can I follow the traces of this bevvildered visionary. I 


On the other hand, I have been re-perusing, with the 
best energies of my mind, the Timaeus of Plato. What- 
ever 1 comprehend, impresses me with a reverential 
sense of the author's genius ; but there is a considerable 
portion of the work, to which \ can attach no consistent 
meaning. In other treatises of the same philosopher, in- 
tended for the average comprehensions of men, 1 have 
been delighted with the masterly go^od sense, with the 
perspicuity of the language, and tlie aptness of the induc- 
tions. I recollect, likewise, that numerous passages ia 
•this author, which I thoroughly compreliend^ were for- 


merly no less unintelligible to me, than the passages now 
in q lestion. U would, 1 am -nware, be qrite fashionahle 
to dismiss them at once as^Phitonic Jarsjon Bat this I 
cannot do, with satisfaction to my own mind, because I 
have sought in Vr>in for causes adequate to the solution 
of the assumed inconsistency. 1 have no insi-rht into the 
possibility of a man so eminently wise, usin^ ^\ords with 
such nalf-meanincrs to himself, as must perforce pass into 
no-meaning to his readers. When, in addition to the mo- 
tives thus suggested by my own reason, I bring into dis- 
tinct remembrance the number and the series of great 
men, who, after long and zealous study of these works, 
had joined in honouring the name of Plato with epithets, 
that almost transcend humanity, 1 feel that a contemptuous 
verdict on my part might argue want of modesty, but 
would hardly be received by the judicious, as evidence of 
superior penetration. Therefore, utterly baffled in all 
my attempts to understand the ignorance of Plato, 1 con- 

In lieu of the various requests, which t'*e anxiety of 
authorship addresses to the unknown reader, I advance 
but this one ; that he will either pass over the following 
chapter altogether, or read the whole connectedly. The 
fairest part of the most beautiful body will appear deform- 
ed and monstrous, if dissevered from its place in the or- 
ganic whole. Na}^ on delicate subjects, where a seem- 
inaly trilling difference of more or less may constitute a 
difference in kiiid^ even ^faithful display of th^ main and 
supporting ideas, if yet they are separated from the forms 
by which they are at once cloathed and modified, may 
perchance present a skeleton indeed ; but a skeleton to 
alarm and deter. Though I might find numerous precedents, 
I shall not desire the reader to strip his mind of all prejudi- 
ces, or to keep all prior systems out of view during his exa- 
mination of the present. For, in truth, such requests appear 
to me not much unlike the advice given to hypochondriacal 
patients in Dr. Buchan's domestic medicine; videlicet, to 
preserve themselves uniformly tranquil and in good spi- 
rits.- Till I had discovered the art of destroying the me- 
memory a parte post, without injury to its future opera- 
tions, and without detriment to the judgment, I should 
suppress the request as premature ; and, therefore, how- 
ever much I n:)ay u-ish to be read with an iJrt^Meiudiced 


m«nd, I do wet presume to state it as a necessary coii- 

The extent of my daring is to suggest one criterion, 
by which it may be rationally conjectured before-hand, 
whether or no a reader would lose his time, and perhaps 
his temper, in the perusal of this, or any other treatise 
constructed on similar principles. But it would be cru- 
elly misinterpreted, as implying the least disrespect either 
for the moral or intellectual qualities of the individuals 
thereby precluded. The criterion is this : if a man re- 
ceives as fundamental facts, and therefore of course in- 
demonstrable, and incapable of further analysis, the gene- 
ral notions of matter, soul, bod}^ action, passiveness, 
time, space, cause and effect, consciousness, perception, 
memory and habit ; if he feels his mind completely at 
rest concerning all these, and is satisfied if only he can 
analyse all other notions into some one or more of these 
supposed elements, with plausible subordination and 
apt arrangement : to such a mind I would as courteousl}^ 
as possible convey the hint, that for him the chapter wns 
not written. 

Vir bonus es, doctus, prudens ; ast hand lihi spiro. 

For these terms do, in truth, include all the difficulties 
wbich the human mind can propose for solution. Taking 
them, therefore, in mass, and unexamined, it requires 
only a decent apprenticeship in logic, to draw forth their 
contents in all forms and colours, as the professors of 
legerdemain at our village fairs, pull out ribbon after 
ribbon from their mouths. And not more difficult is it to 
reduce them back again to their different genera. But 
though this analysis is highly useful in rendering our 
knowledge more distinct, it does not really add to it. It 
does not increase, though it gives us a greater mastery 
over, the wealth which we before possessed. For 
forensic purposes, for all the established professions of 
society, this is sufficient. But for philosophy in its high- 
est sense, as the science of ultimate truths, and therefor 
scientia scientiarum, this mere analysis of terms is prepa- 
rative only, though, as a preparative discipline, indispensa- 

Vol. W 13 


Stiillessdare a fayonrable perusal be uuticipated from 
?.he proselytes of that coriipendious philosophy, which 
talking of mind but thinkino; of brick and moilar, or other 
images equally abstracted Irom bod}', contrives a theory 
of spirit by nicknaming matter, and in a few hours can 
-qualify its dullest disciples to explain the omne scibile 
by reducing all things to impressions, ideas, and sensa- 

But it is time to tell the truth ; though it requires 
•some courage to avow it in an age and country, in whicli 
disquisitions on all subjects, not privileged to adopt 
technical terms or scientific symbols, must be addressed 
to the PUBLIC. I say then, that it is neither possible or 
necessary for all men, or for man}^ to be philosophers. 
There is a philosophic, (and inasnauch as it is actualized 
by an eflbrt of freedom, an artificial) cojiscioiisness^whicii 
lies beneath, or, (as it were,) behind the spontaneous 
/consciousness natural to all reflecting beings. As the 
older Romans distinguished their northern provinces into 
Cis-Alpine and Trans-Alpine, so may we divide all the 
objects of human knowledge into those on this side, and 
those on the other side of the spontaneous consciousness ; 
citra et trans conscientiam communern. The latter is 
exclusively the domain of pure philosophjs which is, 
therefore, properly entitled transcendenial, in order to 
discriminate it at once, both from mere reflection and re- 
presentation on the one hand, and on the other from 
those flights of lawless speculation, which, abandoned by 
all distinct consciousness, because transgressing the 
bounds and p^jrposes of our intellectual faculties, are 
justly condemned, as transcendent,^ The first range of 

* Tiiis distinction, l^etn'eentranscendpntal and transcendent, is observed 
by our eldv-r divines and philosophers, whenever they express themselves 
^tholdsiimlly. Dr. Johnson, indeed, has confounded' the two worda ; but 
his own authorities do not bear him out. Of this celebrated dictionary, I 
will venture to remark, once for all, that I should suspect the man of a 
jiioro.-;;* disposition, who should speak of it without respect and gratitude, 
as a most 'instructive and entertaining booky and liitherto, unfortunately, 
an indispensable book: but I confess, that I should be surprised at hear- 
in;^ ii:om a philosophic and thorough scholar, any but very qualilied^ 
praises of it, as a dictionary, I am not now alluding to the number of 
j^cnuine words otn-ttcd ; Vor this i.s, (and, perhaps, to a great extent,) 
"tru^., as jSIr. Wakefield has noticed, of our best Greek Lexicons : and 
this, too, after the successive labours of so many giants in learning. I 
refnr, at present, both to oniissions and < ommissions of a more important 
nature. What these are, me saltern judice, will be stated at full ui The 
FiiiiiNn, re-publiihed and completed. * 


Iiiils, that cncirde's the scanty vale of human hfe, is the 
Iiorizon for the majority of its inhabitants. On its ridge? 
the common sun is born and departs. From tkem the 
stars rise, and touching ^/^em the}^ vanish. By the many, 
even this range, the natural limit and bulwark of the vale, 
is but imperfectly known. Its higher ascents are too 
often hidden by mists and clouds from uncultivated 
swamps, which few have courage or curiosity to pene 
trate. To the multitude below these vapours appear, now, 
as the dark haunts of tcrri(ic agents, on which none ma}^ 
intrude with impunity ; and now all a-glow, with colours 
not their own, they are gazed at as the splendid palaces 
of happiness and power. But in all ages there have 
been a few who, measuring and sounding the rivers of 
the vale at the feet of their furthest inaccessible falls, 
have learnt, that the sources must be far higher and far 
inward ; a few, who even in the level streams have de- 
tected elements, which neither the vale itself or the sur- 
rounding mountains contained or could supply. How 
and whence to these thoughts, these strong probabili- 

T had never heard of the correspondence betwf»en WakefieM and Fox, 
flU I saw the account of it this morning-, TlHth Septeniher, 1815,) iji the 
Monthly Review. I was not a little grratified at findiniTj that Mr. Wake- 
tield had proposed to himself nearly the same plan for a Greek and En- 
gl sh Dictionary, which I liad formed, and hegftn to exf^cute, now ten 
years ago. But far, far more i^rieved am I, that he did not hVe to conspleat It. 
I cannot but think it a subject of most serious reo'ret, that the s-\m^' 
hea\-y expenditure, which is now cmplovin^" in tho rcpuhlicntion of Ste- 
piiAXus aug-mented, had not been applied to^a new Ij'-xicon, on a mor^ 
philojiophical plan, with the English, (jerman, and French Synonirnes, as 
well as the Latin. In almost every in-^tance, the nrecise individual mc^in- 
ing might be given in an English or (jerman va orc(: whereas, iu Latin, we 
must too often be coiitented with a mere general and inclusive term. 
How, indeed, can it be otherwise, wlicn we attempt to render the rno?t 
copious language of the world, the rao^t admirable for the tineness of it«^ 
distinctions, into one of the pooievt and most vague lanji-uages ? Espe- 
cially, when vve reHect on the comparative number of the works, still ex- 
tant, written while the Greek and Latin were living lan«-uage«. Were I 
asked, what I deemed the greatest and most unmixt benefit, which a 
wealthy individual, or an association of wealthy individuals, could be- 
stow on their country and on mankind, I should not hesitate to answer, 
*' a philosophical English dictionary, with the Greek, Latin, German, 
French, Spanish and Italian synonimes, and «»- ith ccn'responding indexes.'" 
That the learned languages might thereby be acquired better, in hali" the 
time, is ^ut a part, and' not the most important part, of the advantages 
which would accrue from such a work. O .' if it should be permitted, by 
providence, that, without detriment to freedom' and independorsce, our 
government might be enabled to become more than a committee for war 
and revenue! There was a time when every thing was to be done by 
govemmeat. Have we not llown ott to the contrary extreme.'' 


t'ie<, the ascertaining vision, the intuitive kfiowled2;e, may 
finally supervene, can be learnt only by the fact. 1 
niiii'ht oppose to the question the words with which 
Flotinus* supposes nature to answer a similar difficulty. 
*' Should any one interrogate her how she works, if gra- 
ciously she vouchsafe to listen and speak, she will replj-, 
it behooves thee not to disquiet me with interrogatories, 
but to understand in silence, even as I am silent, and 
work witliont words." 

Likewise, in the iifth book of the fifth Ennead, speak- 
ing of the highest and intuitive knowledge as distinguish- 
ed from t!ie discursive, or, in the language of Wordsworth^ 

'' The vision and the faculty divine ;-' 

he says : *' it is not lavvful to inquire from w- hence it 
sprang, as if it were a thing subject to place and motioa, 
for it neither approached hither, nor again departs from 
hence to some other place ; but it either appears to us, 
or it does not appear. So that we ought not to pursue 
it with a view of detecting its secret source, but to watch 
in quiet till it suddenly shines upon us ; preparing our- 
selves for the blessed spectacle, as the eye waits patient- 
ly for the rising sun." They, and they only, can acquire 
the philosophic imagination, the sacred power of self-in- 
tuition, who, within themselves, can interpret and under- 
stand the symbol, that the wings of the air-sylph are 
forming within the skin of the caterpillar; those only, 
who feel in their own spirits, the same instinct which im- 
pels the crysalis of the horned fly to leave room in its invo- 
lucrum for antennae yet to come. They know and fee>, 

* Ennead iii. 1, 8. c. 3. The force of the Greek crvvnvai is imperfectly 
i'xpressed by '* understand :" our own idiomatic phrase " to go along nUTi," comes nearest to it. The passa^ce that follows, full of profound sens-?, 
appears to me evidently corrupt ; and, in fact, no writer more wants, better 
deserves, or is less likely to obtain, a new and more correct edition: — t1 5v 
c-jiitval ; 8ti to 7f vc|i£vov jjj S-^a^ia i^jv, criwrrricrij {mallem, ^iaiia, t^S o-icottco- 
oris,) xa\ (picrsi 7Evo;ifvov Sri'pnfia xa\ /ioi yEvcpLivn U 9-£wpi'af lU w'5i', rfv (pCciv 
5x£'v (piAo^ci^ova vTrapmi {mallem^ >idi \io\ -ht 7£vojiivn \h I>fx'piaj doryij to5iJ.) 
** what then ^re we to understand ? That whatever is produced is an in- 
tuition, I silent ; and that, which is thus generated, is by its nature a theo- 
rem, or foi-m of contemplation ; and the" birth, which results to me iroia 
this contemplation, attains to have a contemplative nature." So Synesi- 
us ; D.b\i »pa, Appina To\d. The after comparison of the process of the 
natura naturans with thut of the geometrician ^3 drawn iroiii the vei-^ 
heart of philosophy. 


that the potential works ii^, them, even as the actual 
works on them ! In short, all the organs of sense are 
framed for a corresponding world of sense ; and we have 
it. All the organs of spirit are framed for a correspond- 
ent world of spirit : tho' the latter organs are not devel- 
oped in all alike. But they exist in all, and their first 
appearance discloses itself in the moral being. How 
else could it be, that even worldlings, not wholly debas- 
ed, will contemplate the man of simple and disinterested 
goodness with contradictory feelings of pity and respect ? 
" Poor man ! he is not made for this world." Oh 1 
herein they utter a prophecy of universal fulfilment ; for 
man must either rise or sink. 

It is the essential mark of the true philosopher to rest 
satisfied with no imperfect light, as long as the impossi- 
bility of attaining a fuller knowledge has not been demon- 
strated. That the common consciousness itself will fur- 
nish proofs by its own direction, that it is connected with 
master-currents below the surface, I shall merely assume 
as a postulate pro tempore. This having been granted, 
though but in expectation of the argument, I can safely 
deduce from it the equal truth of my former assertion, 
that philosophy cannot be intelligible to all, even of the 
most learned and cultivated classes. A system, the first 
principle of which it is to render the mind intuitive of 
the spiritual in man, (i. e. of that which lies on the other 
side of our natural consciousness,) must needs have a 
great obscurity for those who have never disciplined and 
strengthened this ulterior consciousness. It must, in truth., 
be a land of darkness, a perfect .^nte-Gosheri, for men 
to whom the noblest treasures of their own being 
are reported only through the imperfect translation 
of lifeless and sightless notions : perhaps, in great part, 
through words which are but the shadows of notions ; 
even as the notional understanding itself, is but the sha- 
dowy abstraction of living and actual truth. On the im- 
mediate, which dwells in every man, and on the original 
intuition, or absolute afiirmation of it> (which is likewise 
in every man,, but does not in every man rise into con- 
sciousness,) all the certainty of our knowledge depends ; 
and this becomes intelligible to no man by the ministeiy of 
mere words from without. The medium, by which spi- 
rits understand each other, is not the surroanding air j 


h-Oi the freedom ^vhich tliey po.ssess in common, as the 
common ethereal element of their being, the tremulous 
reciprocations of which propagate themselves even to 
the inmost of the soul. Where the spirit of a man is 
noi filled, with the consciousness of freedom, (were it only 
from its restlessness, as of one still struggling in bondage,) 
all spiritual intercourse is interrupted, not only with 
others, but even with himself No wonder, then, that 
he remains incomprehensible to himself as well as to 
others. No wonder, that in the fearful desert of his 
consciousness, he wearies himself out with empty words, 
to which no friendly echo answers, either from his own 
heart, or the heart of a fellow being; or bewilders him- 
self in the pursuit of woz'zo?2aZ phantoms, the mere refrac- 
tions from unseen and distant truths, through the distort- 
ing medium of his own unenlivened and stagnant under- 
standing ! To remain unintelligible to such a mind, ex- 
clainjs Schelling, on a like occasion, is honour and a good 
name before God and man. 

The history of philosophy, (the same writer observes,) 
contains instances of systems which, for successive gene- 
rations, have remained enrgm-L^.tic. Such he deems the 
system of Leibnitz, (whom another writer, rashly 1 think, 
and invidiously,) extols as the only philosopher who was 
himself deeply convinced of his own doctrines. As hither- 
to interpreted, however, they have not produced the ef- 
fect which Leibnitz himself, in a most instructive passage, 
Jescribes as the criterion of a true philosophy ; namely^ 
ihat it would at once explain and collect the fragments 
of truth scattered through systems apparently the most in- 
congruous. The truth, says he, is diffused more widely 
than is commonly believed ; but it is often painted, yet 
oftener masked, and is sometimes mutilated, and some- 
times, alas ! in close alliance with mischievous errors. 
The deeper, however, we penetrate into the ground of 
tilings, the more truth we discover in the doctrines of the 
■greater number of the philosophical sects. The want of 
,^uhstantl^l reality in the objects of the senses, according 
to the sceptics ; the harmonies or numbers, the proto- 
fypes and ideas, to which the Pythagoreans and Platonists 
^jduced all things j the q^e and ali^ of Fa.rmeiif'ies a^d 


Plotinus, \rithout Splnozism ;^ the necessary corinectioii 
of things according to the Stoics, reconcilable with the 
spontaneity of the other schools ; the vital philosophy of 
the Cabalists and Hermetists, who assumed the univer- 
sality of sensation ; the substantial forms and entelechies 
of Aristotle and the schoolmen, together with the me- 
chanical solution of all particular phenomena according 
to Democritus and the recent philosophers ; all these we 
shall find unfted in one perspective central point, which 
shows regularity and a coincidence of all the parts in 
the very object which, from every other point of view, 
must appear confused and distorted. The spirit of see* 
tarianism has been hitherto our fault, and the cause of 
our failures. We have imprisoned our own conceptions by 
the lines which we have drawn in order to exclude the 
conceptions of others. J'ai trouve que la plupart des 

* This is happily effected in three Hnes by Svnesics, in his Fourth 
Hymn : 

'Ev nai ITttiTfl — (taken by itself) si Spinosism. 
'Ev 6' 'Attclvtcov — a mere anima Mimdi 
'Ev T£ TTjo TTOvTcov — is mechanical Theism. 

But unite all three, and the result is the Theism of St. Paul and Chris- 

Syiiesius was censured for his doctrine of the pre-existence of the Soul; 
but' never, that I can find, arraigned or deemed heretical for his Pan- 
theism, though neither Giordano Bruno, or Jacob Behmen, ever avowed 
it more broadly 

Mtjsaj 5i iVoo?, 
Ttt Tf xal Ttt Aiyti, 
B63-OV appriTov 
Xu TO Ti xTov tpuy,, 

Su TO TlXT0|i£V0V* 
Ei) TO <pCOTt'{lOV, 

So TO KaiXTrojxSvov* 
Si) TO (paivo^-vov, 


lotais ctvyaU. 
'Ev xa: TravTO, 
Ev xay faUTO, 
Koi 5itt TrdvTCOv. 

Pantheism is, fherefore, not necessarily irreligious or heretical ; though 
it may be taught atheistically. Thu.s, Spinoza would agree with Sy]jesius 
in calling God <J)uo-is tv ]No£?}ii,the Nature in Intelligences ; but ho couhi 
not subscribe to the preceding^ NoDj xdi No£pcs, i. e. Himself Intelligence 
and intelligent. 

In this biographical sketch of my literary life, I may be excused, if I 
mention here, that I had translated the eight Hymns of Synesius fronr 
the Greek into English AnacreODtics before my 15th yeari 


sectos ont raison dans une bonne partie de ce qu'elles 
avancent, mais non pas en ce qu'elles nient 

A system which aims to deduce the memory with all 
the other functions of intelligence, must, of course, place 
its first position from beyond the memory, and anterior 
to it, otherwise the principle of solution would be itselC 
a part of the problem to be solved. Such a position, 
therefore, must, in the first instance, be demanded, and 
the first question will be, by what right is it demanded ? 
On this account I think it expedient to make some pre- 
liminary remarks on the introduction of Postulates in 
philosophy. The word postulate is borrowed from the 
science of mathematics. (See Schell. abhandl zur Er- 
}auter, des id der Wissenschaftslehre.) In geometry the 
primary construction is not demonstrated, but postulated. 
This first and most simple construction in space, is the 
point in motion, or the line. Whether the point is moved 
in one and the same direction, or whether its direction is 
continually changed, remains as yet undetermined. But 
if the direction of the point have been determined, it is 
fither by a point without it, and then there arises the 
strait line which incloses no space ; or the direction of 
the point is not determined by a point without it, and 
then it must flow back again on itself; that is, there arises 
a cyclical line, which does inclose a space. If the strait 
line be assumed as the positive, the cyclical is then the* 
negation of the strait. It is a line which at no point 
strikes out into the strait, but changes its direction con- 
tinuously. But if the primary line be conceived as un- 
determined, and the strait line as determined throughout, 
then the cyclical is the third, compounded of both. It is 
at once undetermined and determined ; undetermined 
through any point without, and determined through itself. 
Geometry, therefore, supplies philosophy with the exam- 
ple of a primary intuition, from which every science that 
lays claim to evidence must take its commencement The 
mathematician does not begin with a demonstrable propo- 
sition, but with an intuition, a practical idea. 

But here an important distinction presents itself. Phi- 
losophy is employed on objects of the inner sense, and 
cannot, like geometry, appropriate to every construction 
a correspondent outz^ard intuition. Nevertheless, philo- 
sophy, if it is to arrive at evidence, must proceed from 


t-he most originrJ construction, and the question then i.^, 
what is the most original construction or tirst productive 
act for the inner sense. The answer to this question 
depends on the direction wliich is given to the inner 
SENSE. But in philosophy the inner sense cannot have 
its direction determined by any outward object. To the 
original construction of the line, I can be compelled by a 
line drawn before me on the slate or on sand. The 
stroke thus drawn is indeed not the line itself, but 
only the image or picture of the line. It is not from it 
that we first learn to know the line ; but, on the contra- 
ry, we bring this stroke to the original line, gene- 
rated by the act of the imagination ; otherwise we could 
not define it as without breadth or thickness. Still, how- 
ever, this stroke is the sensuous image of the original or 
ideal line, and an efficient mean to excite every imagina- 
tion to the intuition of it. 

It is demanded then, whether there be found any means 
in philosophy to determine the direction of the inner 
sense, as in mathematics it is determinable by its specific 
image or outward picture. Now, the inner sense has its 
direction determined for the greater part only by an act 
of freedom. One man's consciousness extends only to 
the pleasant or unpleasant sensations caused in him by 
external impressions ; another enlarges his inner sense to 
a consciousness of forms and quantity ; a third, in addition 
to the image, is conscious of the conception or notion of 
the thing ; a fourth attains to a notion of notions — 
he reflects on his own reflections ; and thus we may 
say, without impropriety, that the one possesses more 
or less inner sense than the other. This more or less 
betrays already that philosophy, in its principles, must 
have a practical or moral, as well as a theoretical or 
speculative side. This difference in degree does not exist 
in the mathematics. Socrates in Plato shows, that an 
ignorant slave may be brought to understand, and, of him- 
self, to solve the most geometrical problem. Socrate*s 
drew the figures for the slave in the sand. The disciples 
of the critical philosophy could likewise (as was indeed 
actually done by La Forge and some other followers of 
Des Cartes) represent the origin of our represent^itions 
in copper-plates ; but no one has yet attempted it, and it 
would be utterly useless, To an Esquimaux or New 


Zealander our most popular philosophy would be whol- 
ly uiiintelligible ; for the sense, the inward organ, is 
not yet born in him. So is there many a one among us, 
yes, and some who think themselves philosophers too, to 
whom the philosophic organ is entirely wanting. To such 
a man, philosophy is a mere play of words and notions, 
like a theory of music to the deaf, or like the geometry 
of light to the blind. The connection of the parts and 
their logical dependencies may be seen and remembered , 
but the whole is groundless and hollow, unsustained by 
living coiitact, unaccompanied with any realizing intuitioa 
which exists by, and in the act that ailirms its existence, 
which is known, because it is, and is, because it is known. 
The words of Flotinus, in the assumed person of natui^, 
holds true of the philosophic energy. B ^r-o^Sv |i« ^8C:^r)^Q 

roiti, a)(77rcf oi rcco^elfaiSri'-o^avlej y^a-ljiic-iv. aU' Im« ^^ T'^cJ^bcttij, ^f cop ijcrns d:^ 

I'PiYavlai clI tlov cu-^alcv ^cd^^at. With me the act of contempla- 
tion makes the thing contemplated, as the geometricians 
contemplating describe lines corespondent ; but I not de- 
scribing lines, but simply contemplating, the representa- 
tive forms of things rise up into existence. 

The postulate of philosophy, and, at the same time, the 
test of philosophic capacity, is no other thaa the heaven- 
descended KNOW THYSELF ! (^E Cfclo clescendit, Fvajei ceavloV^ 
and this at once practicall}^ and speculatively. For, as 
philosophy is neither a science of the reason or under- 
standing only, nor merely a science of morals,jbut the sci- 
ence of BEING altogether, its primary ground can be nei- 
ther merely speculative or merely practical, but both in 
one. All knowledge rests on the coincidence of an ob- 
ject with a subject. (3Iy readers have been warned in a 
former chapter, that for their convenience as well as the 
writer's, the term, subject, is used b}^ me in its scho- 
lastic sense as equivalent to mind or sentient being, and 
as the necessary correlative of object or guicquid ohjici- 
tur jnenti.) For we can knorv that only which is true ; and 
the truth is universally placed in the coincidence of the 
thought with the thing, of the representation with the ob- 
ject represented. 

Now the sum of all that is merely objective, we will 
henceforth call natutxE, confining the term to its passive 
and material sense, as comprising all the pha^nomena by 
which its existence is made known to us. On the olh^ 


hand, the sum of all that is subjective, we may compr-e- 
hend in the name of the self or intelligence. Both 
conceptions are in necessary antithesis. Intelligence is 
conceived of, as exclusively representative, nature as ex- 
clusively represented ; the one as conscious, the other as 
without consciousness. Now, in all acts of positive know- 
ledge, there is required a reciprocal concurrence of both, 
namely, of the conscious being, and of that which is, in 
itself, unconscious. Our problem is to explain this con- 
currence, its possibility, and its necessity. 

During the act of knowledge itself, the objective and 
subjective are so instantly united, that we cannot deter- 
mine to which of the two the priority belongs. There 
is here no first, and no second ; both are coinstantaneous 
and one. While I am attempting to explain this intimate 
coalition, I must suppose it dissolved. I must necessari- 
ly set out from the one, to which, therefore, I give hy- 
pothetical antecedence, in order to arrive at the other. 
But, as there are but two factors or eleinents in the prob- 
lem, subject and object, and as it is left indeterminate from 
which of them I should commence, there are two cases 
equally possible. 

1 . Either the Objective is taken as the first, a^d 
then we have to account for the supervention of tii^ 
Subjective, v/hich coalesces with it. 

1'he notion of the subjective is not contained in the 
notion of the objective. On the contrary, they mutually 
exclude each other. The subjective, therefore, must su- 
pervene to the objective. The conception of nature 
does not apparently involve the co-presence of an intel- 
ligence making an ideal duplicate of it, i. e. representing 
it. 'J'his desk, for instance, would (according to our na- 
tural notions) be, though there should exist no sentient 
being to look at it. I'his then is the problem of natural 
philosophy It assumes the objective or unconscious na- 
ture as the first, and has, tlierefore, to explain how intel- 
ligence can supervene to it, or how itself can grow into 
intelligence. If it should appear that all enlightened 
naturalists, without having distinctly proposed the problem 
to themselves, have yet constantly moved in the line of 
its solution, it must afford a strong presumption that the 
problem itself is founded in nature. For if all knowledge 
has, as it were, two poles reciprocally required and pre- 


supposed, all sciences must proceed from the one or the 
other, and must tend toward jhe opposite as far as the 
equatorial point in which both are reconciled, and be- 
come identical. The necessary tendence, therefore, 
of all natural philo?ophy, i? from nature to intelligence ; 
and this, and no other, is the true ground and occasion of 
tlie instinctive striving to introduce theory into our views 
of natural pha^nomena. The highest perfection of na- 
tural philosophy would consist in the perfect spiritualiza- 
tion of all the laws of nature into laws of intuition and 
intellect. The phcenomena {the material) must wholly 
disappear, and the laws alone {the formal) must remain. 
Thence it comes, that in nature itself, the more the prin- 
ciple of law breaks forth, the more does the husk drop 
off, the phienomena themselves become more spiritual, and 
at length cease altogether in our consciousness. The 
optical ph.Tnomena, are but a geometry, the lines of 
which are drawn by light, and the materiality of this 
light itself has already become matter of doubt. In the 
appearances of magnetism, all trace of matter is lost, and, 
of the pha^nomena of gravitation, which, not a few among 
the most illustrious New^tonians, have declared no other- 
wise comprehensible than as an immediate spiritual in- 
fluence, there remains nothing but its law, the execution 
of whi(th, on a vast scale, is the mechanism of the heaven- 
ly motions. The theory of natural philosophy would 
then be completed ; when all nature was demonstrated 
to be identical in essence with that which, in its highest 
known power, exists in man as an intelligence, and self- 
consciousness ; when the heavens and the earth shall de- 
clare, not only the power of their maker, but the glory 
and the presence of their God, even as he appeared to 
the great prophet during the vision of the mount in the 
skirts of his divinity. 

This may suffice to show, that even natural science, 
which commences with the material phaenomenon as the 
reality and substance of things existing, does yet, by the 
necessity of theorizing, unconsciously, and, as it were, 
instinctively, end in nature as an intelligence ; and by 
this tendency, the science of nature becomes finally na- 
tural philosophy, the one of the two poles of fundamen- 
tal science. 

2. Or the subjective . is taken as the first, and, 



In the pursuit of these sciences, our success in each, 
depends on an austere and faithful adherence to its own 
principles, with a careful separation and exclusion of 
those, which appertain to the opposite science. As the 
n-Jtural philosopher, who directs his views to the objec- 
tive, avoids, above all things, the intermixture of the sub- 
jective in his knowledge, as for instance, arbitrary sup- 
positions or rather suffictions, occult qualities, spiritual 
agents, and the substitution of final for efficient causes ; 
so on the other hand, the transcendental or intelligential 
philosopher, is equally anxious to preclude all interpo- 
lation of the objective into the subjective principles of 
his science ; as, for instance, the assumption of impresses 
or configurations in the brain, correspondent to miniature 
pictures on the retina painted by rays of light from sup- 
posed originals, which are not the immediate and real 
objects of vision, but deductions from it, for the purposes 
of explanation. This purification of the mind is effected 
by an absolute and scientific scepticism to w^hich the mind 
voluntarily determines itself for the specific purpose of fu- 
ture certainty. Des Cartes who (in bis meditations) 
himself first, at least of the moderns, gave a beautiful 
example of this voluntary doubt, this self-determined in- 
determination, happily expresses its utter difiference from 
the scepticism of vanity or irreligion : Nee tamen in eo 
scepticos imitabar, qui dubitant tantum ut dubitent, et 
preter incertitudinem ipsam nihil quaerunt. Nam contra 
totus in eo eram ut aliquid certi reperirem. — Des Cartes, 
de Methodo, Nor, is it less distinct in its motives and 
final aim, than in its proper objects, which are not, as in 
ordinary scepticism, the prejudices of education and cir- 
cumstance, but those original and innate prejudices, 
which nature herself has planted in all men, and which, 
to all but the philosopher, are the first principles of know- 
ledge, and the final test of truth. 

Nowr these essential prejudices are all reducible to 
the one fundamental presumption, that THER^i exist 
THINGS WITHOUT US. As thls ou the one hand originates, 
neither in grounds or arguments, and yet on the other 
hand remains proof against all attempts to remove it by 
grounds or arguments (naturam furca expellas tameitt 
Vol. L 14 


usque redihit ;) on the one hand lays claim to immediate 
certainty as a position at once indemonstrable and irre- 
sistible, and yet on the other hand, inasmuch as it refers 
to something essentially different from ourselves, nay, 
even in opposition to ourselves, leaves it inconceivable 
how it could possibly become a part of our immediate 
consciousness ; (in other words, how that, which ex hy- 
pothesi is and continues to be extrinsic and alien to our 
being, should become a modification of our being,) the 
philosopher, therefore, compels himself to treat this 
faith as nothing more than a prejudice, innate indeed 
and connatural, but still a prejudice. 

The other position, which not only claims, but neces- 
sitates the admission of its immediate certainty, equally 
for the scientific reason of the philosopher as for the 
common sense of mankind at large, namely, I am, can- 
not so properly be entitled a prejudice. It is ground- 
less, indeed, but then in the very idea it precludes all 
ground, and separated from the immediate conscious- 
ness, loses its whole sense and import. It is groundless ; 
but only because it is itself the ground of all other cer- 
tainty. Now the apparent contradiction, that the form- 
er position, namely, the existence of things without us, 
which from its nature cannot be immediately certain, 
should be received as blindly and as independently of 
all grounds as the existence of our own being, the tran- 
scendental philosopher can solve only by the supposi- 
tion, that the former is unconsciously involved in the 
latter ; that it is not only coherent but identical, and one 
and the same thing with our own immediate self con- 
sciousness. To demonstrate this identity, is the office 
and object of his philosophy. 

If it be said, that this is Idealism, let it be remember- 
ed, th'dt it is only so far idealism as it is at the same 
time, and on that very account, the truest and most bind- 
ing realism. For wherein does the realism of mankind 
properly consist ? In the assertion, that there exists a 
something without them, what, or how, or where, they 
know not, which occasions the objects of their percep- 
tion ? Oh no ! This is neither connatural or universal. 
It is what a few have taught and learnt in the schools, 
and which the many repeat without asking themselves 
cohcernins; their own meaning. The reaUsm common 


to all mankind is far elder, and lies infinitely deeper than 
this hypothetical explanation of the origin of our per- 
ceptions,an explanation skimmed from the mere surface 
of mechanical philosophy. It Is the table itself, which 
the man of common sense beUeves himself to see, not 
the phantom of a table, from which he may argumenta- 
tively deduce the reahty of a table, which he does not 
see. If to destroy the reality of all that we actually be- 
hold, be ideaUsm, what can be more egregiously so, 
than the system of modern metaphysics, which banishes 
us to a land of shadows, surrounds us with apparitions, 
and distinguishes truth from illusion only by the majori- 
ty of those who dream the same dream ? ''/asserted 
that the world was mad," exclaimed poor Lee, " and 
the world said, that I was mad, and, confound them, they 
outvoted me." 

It is to the true and original realism, that I would di- 
rect the attention. This believes and requires neither 
more nor less, than that the object which it beholds or 
presents to itself, is the real and very object. In this 
sense, however much we may strive against it, we are 
ail collectively born idealists, and therefore, and only 
therefore, are we at the same time realists. But of this 
the philosophers of the schools know nothing, or despise 
the faith as the prejudice of the ignorant vulgar, because 
they live and move in a crowd of phrases and notions 
from which human nature has long ago vanished. Oh, 
ye that reverence yourselves, and walk humbly with the 
divinity in your own hearts, ye are worthy of a better 
philosophy ! Let the dead bury the dead, but do you 
preserve your human nature, the depth of which was 
never yet fathomed by a philosophy made up of notions 
and mere logical entities. 

In the third treatise of my Logosophia, announced at 
the end of this volume, I shall give (deo volente) the 
demonstrations and constructions of the Dynamic Philoso- 
phy scientifically arranged. It is, according to my con- 
viction, no other than the system of Pythagoras and of 
Plato revived and purified from impure mixtures. Doc- 
trina per tot manus tradita tandem iti Vappam desiit. The 
science of arithmetic furnishes instances, that a rule 
may be useful in practical application, and for the par- 
ticular purpose may be sujSiciently authenticated by the 


resulf, before it has itself been fully demonstrated. It 
is enough, if only it be rendered intelligible. This will, 
I trust, have been effected in the following Theses, for 
those of my readers who are willing to accompany me 
through the following Chapter, in which the results will 
be apphed to the deduction of the imagination, and with 
it the principles of production and of genial criticism in 
the fine arts. 

Thesis I. — Truth is correlative to being. Knowledge 
without a correspondent reality is no knowledge ; if we 
know, there must be somewhat known by us. To know 
is in its very essence a verb active, 

Thesis II. — All truth is either mediate, that is, de- 
rived from some other truth or truths ; or immediate 
and original. The latter is absolute, and its formula A. 
A. ; the former is of dependent or conditional certainty, 
and represented in the formula B. A. The certainty, 
which inheres in A, is attributable to B. 

Scholium. A chain without a staple, from which all 
the links derived their stability, or a series without a 
first, has been not inaptly allegorized, as a string of 
blind men, each holding the skirt of the man before him, 
reaching far out of sight, but all moving without the least 
deviation in one strait line. It would be naturally taken 
for granted, that there was a guide at the head of the file; 
\vhat if it were answered. No ! sir, the men are without 
number, and infinite blindness supplies the place of 
sight ? 

Equally inconceivahle is a cycle of equal truths, with- 
out a common and central principle, which prescribes to 
each its proper sphere in the system of science. That 
the absurdity does not so immediately strike us, that it 
does not seem equally unimaginable, is owing to a sur- 
reptitious act of the imagination, which, instinctively and 
without our noticing the same, not only fills at the inter- 
vening spaces, and contemplates the cycle, (of B. C. D. 
E. F. &c.) as a continuous circle (A.) giving to all, col- 
lectively, the unity of their common orbit ; but likewise 
supplies, by a sort of subintelligitur, the one central pow- 
er, which renders the moveiiient harmonious and cy- 


Thesis III. — We are to seek, therefore, for some^ 
absolute truth, capable of communicating to other posi- 
tions, a certainty, which it has not itself borrowed ; a 
truth self-grounded, unconditional, and known by its own 
light. In short, we have to find a somewhat, which is, 
simply, because it is. In order to be such, it must be 
one which is its own predicate, so far, at least, that all 
other nominal predicates must be modes and repetitions 
of itself. Its existence, too, must be such as to preclude 
the possibility of requiring a cause, or antecedent, with- 
out an absurdity. 

Thesis IV. — That there can be but one such princi- 
ple, may be proved a priori ; for were there two or 
more, each must refer to some other, by which its 
equality is affirmed ; consequently, neither would be 
self-established, as the hypothesis demands. And a pos- 
teriori, it will be proved by the principle itself, when it 
is discovered, as involving universal antecedents in its 
very conception. 

Scholium. If we affirm of a board that it is blue, the 
predicate (blue) is accidental, and not implied in the 
subject, board. If we affirm of a circle, that it is equi- 
radical, the predicate, indeed, is implied in the definition 
of the subject ; but the existence of the subject itself 
is contingent, and supposes both a cause and a percipient. 
The same reasoning will apply to the indefinite number 
of supposed indemonstrable truths, exempted from the 
prophane approach of philosophic investigation by the 
amiable Beattie, and other less eloquent and not more 
profound inaugurators of common sense, on the throne 
of philosophy ; a fruitless attempt, were it only that it 
is the two-fold function of philosophy to reconcile reason 
with common sense, and to elevate conmion sense int(? 

Thesis V. — Such a principle cannot be any thing or 
OBJECT. Each thing is what it is in consequence of 
some other thing. An infinite, independent r/iing,* is 

* The impossibilit;y' of an absolute thing, (substantia unica,; as neither 
genus, species, nor individuum, as well as its utter unfitness for the fun- 
daaiental position of a philosophic system, will be demonstrated in, the. 
critique en Spinozism in the fifth treatise of niy iiogosophia. 


no less a contradiction, than an infinite circle, or a side^ 
Jess triangle. Besides, a thing is that which is capable 
of being an object, of which itself is not the sole perci- 
pient. But an object is inconceivable without a subject 
as its antithesis. Omne perceptum percipientem sup- 

But neither can the principle be found in a subject, as 
a subject, contra-distinguished from an object ; for uni- 
cuique percipienti aliquid objicitur perceptum. It is to 
be found, therefore, neither in object or subject, taken 
separately ; and, consequently, as no other third is con- 
ceivable, it must be found in that which is neither sub- 
ject nor object exclusively, but which is the identity of 

Thesis VI. — This principle, and so characterized, 
Manifests itself in the Sum or I am ; which I shall hereaf- 
ter indiscriminately express by the words spirit, self, 
and self-consciousness. In this, and in this alone, object 
and subject, being and knowing, are identical, each in- 
volving and supposing the other. In other words, it is a 
subject which becomes a subject by the act of construc- 
ting itself objectively to itself; but which never is an 
object except for itself, and only so far as by the very 
same act it becomes a su»^ject. It may be described, 
therefore, as a perpetual self-duplication of one and the 
same power, into object and subject, wiiich presuppose 
each other, and can exist only as antithesis. 

Scholium. If a man be asked how he kno'ws that he 
is ? he can only answer, sum quia sum. But if (the ab- 
soluteness of this certainty having been admitted) he 
be again asked, how he, the individual person, came to 
be, then, in relation to the ground of his existence^ not to 
ikie ground of his knowledge of that existence, he might 
ireply, sum quia dens est, or still more philosophically, 
sum quia in deo sum. 

But if we elevate our conception to the absolute self, 
ihe great eternal I am, then the principle of being, and 
©f knowledge, of idea, and of reality ; the ground of ex- 
istence, and the ground of the knowledge of existence, 
iare absolutely ideiitica5« Sum quia sum ;. I am, because 


I affirm myself to be ; I affirm myself to be, because i 

Thesis VII. — If then I know myself only through my- 
self, it is contradictory to require any other predicate of 
self, but that of self-consciousness. Only in the self- 
consciousness of a spirit is there the required identity of 
object and of representation ; for herein consists the es- 
sence of a spirit, that it is self-representative. If, there- 
fore, this be the one only immediate truth, in the certain- 
ty of which the reality of our collective knowledge is 
grounded, it must follow that the spirit in all the objects 
which it views, views only itself If this could be prov- 
ed, the immediate reality of all intuitive knowledge 
would be assured. It has been shown, that a spirit is 
that which is its own object, yet not originally an object, 
but an absolute subject for which all, itself included, may 
become an object. It must, therefore, be an act ; for 
every object is, as an object^ dead, fixed, incapable in 
itself of any action, and necessarily finite. Again; the 
spirit, (originally the identity of object and subject,) 
must, in some sense, dissolve this identity, in order to 
be conscious of it : fit alter et idem. But this implies 

* It is most worthy of notice, that in the first revelation of himself, not 
confined to individuals ; indeed, in the very first revelation of his absolute 
being, Jehovah, at the same time revealed the fundamental truth of all 
philosophy, which must either commence with the absolute, or have no 
fixed commencement; i. e. cease to be philosoohy. I cannot but express 
my regret, that in the equivocal use of the word that, for in that^ or because^ 
our admirable version has rendered the passage susceptible of a degraded 
interpretation in the mind of common readers or hearers, as if it were a 
mere reproof to an impertinent question, 1 am what I am, which might be 
equally affirmed of himself by any existent being. 

The Cartesian Cogito, ergo sum, is objectionable, because either the 
Cogito is used extra Gradum, and then it is involved in the sum and is 
'tautological, or it is taken as a particular mode or dignity, and then it is 
subordinated to the sum as the species to the genus ; or, ra-.her, as a particu- 
lar modification to the subject modified ; and not pre-ordinated as the ar- 
guments seem to require. For Cogito is Sum Cogitans. This is clear by 
the inevidence of the converse. Cogitat ergo est, is true, because it is a 
mere application of the logical rule : Quicquid in genere est, est et in 
specie. Est (cogitans) ergo est. It is a cherry tree ; therefore it is a 
tree. But, est ergo cogitat, is illogical : for quod'estin specie, non neces- 
sario in genere est. it'may be true I hold it to be true, that quicquid 
vere est, est perveramsui affirmationem ; but it is a derivative, not an im- 
mediate truth. Here, then, we have, by anticipation, the distinction be- 
tween the conditional finite I, (which, as known in distinct consciousness 
by occasion of experience, is called bv Kant's followers, the empirical I,) 
and the absolute I am, and likewise tne dependence, or rather the inhe- 
rence of the formi^r in the latter; in whom ''we live, and move, and have 
our being," as St. Paul divinely itsserts, differing widely from the Theists 
of the mechanic school, {as >ir J, Newton, Locke &l.) who must say from 
whom we had our being, and with it, life and the. powers of life. 


an act, and it follows, therefore, that intelligence or 
self-consciousness is impossible, except by and in a will. 
The self-conscious spirit, therefore, is a will ; and free- 
dom must be assumed as a ground of philosophy, and 
can never be deduced from it. 

Thesis VIII. — Whatever in its origin is objective, is 
likewise as such necessarily finite. Therefore, since the 
spirit is not originally an object, and as the subject ex- 
ists in antithesis to an object, the spirit cannot originally 
be finite. But neither can it be a subject without be- 
coming an object, and as it is originally the identity of 
both, it can be conceived neither as infinite or finite, ex- 
clusively, but as the most original union of both. In the 
existence, in the reconciling, and the recurrence of this 
contradiction, consists the process and mystery of pro- 
duction and life. 

Thesis IX. — This principium commune essendi et 
cognoscendi, as subsisting in a will, or primary act of 
self-duplication, is the mediate or indirect principle of 
every science ; but it is the immediate and direct princi- 
ple of the ultimate science alone, i. e. of transcendental 
philosophy alone. For it mus-t be remembered, that 
all these Theses refer solely to one of the two Polar 
Sciences, namely, to that which commences with, and 
rigidly confines itself within the subjective, leaving the 
objective, (as far as it is exclusively objective,) to natu- 
ral philosojih}^ which is its opposite pole. In its very 
idea, therefore, as a systematic knowledge of our collec- 
tive KNOWING, (scientia scientiae,) it involves the neces- 
sity of some one highest principle of knowing, as at once 
the source and the accompanying form in all particular 
acts of intellect and perception. This, it has been 
shown, can be found only in the act and evolution of self- 
consciousness. We are not investigating an absolute 
principium essendi ; for then, I admit, many valid ob- 
jections might be started against eur theory ; but an ab- 
solute principium cognoscendi. The result of both the 
sciences, or their equatorial point, would be the principle 
of a total and undivided philosophy, as, for prudential 
reasons, 1 have chosen to anticipate in the Scholium to 
Thesis VL and the note subjoined. In other words, phf- 


losophy would pass into religion, and religion become in* 
elusive of philosophy. We begin with the I know myself, 
in order to end with the absolute I am. We proceed from 
the SELF, in order to lose and find all self in God. 

Thesis X. — -The transcendental philosopher does not 
inquire, what ultimate ground of our knowledge there 
may lie out of our knowing, but what is the last in our 
knowing itself, beyond which 'we cannot pass. The prin- 
ciple of our knowing is sought within the sphere of our 
knowing. It must be something, therefore, which can 
itself be known. It is asserted, only, that the act of 
self-consciousness is for us the source and principle of all 
our possible knowledge. Whether, abstracted from us, 
there exists any thing higher and beyond this primary 
self-knowing, v/hich is for us the form of all our knowing, 
must be decided by the result. 

That the self-consciousness is the fixt point, to which 
for us all is morticed and annexed, needs no further proof. 
But that the self-consciousness may be the modification 
of a higher form of being, perhaps of a higher conscious- 
ness, and this again of a yet higher, and so on in an infi- 
nite regressus ; in short, that self-consciousness may be 
itself something explicable into something, which must lie 
beyond the possibility of our knowledge, because the 
whole synthesis of our intelligence is first formed in and 
through the self-consciousness, does not at all concern us as 
transcendental philosophers. For to us the self-conscious^ 
nessis not a kind of being, but a kind of knoxsoing, and that 
tpothe highest and farthest that exists for us. It may how- 
ever be shown, and has in part already been shown, in 
pages 74-75, * that even when the Objective is assumed 
as the first, we yet can never pass beyond the principle 
of self consciousness. Should we attempt it, we must be 
driven back from ground to ground, each of which would 
cease to be a ground the moment we pressed on it. We 
must be whirled down the gulph of an infinite series. But 
this would make our reason baiSle the end and purpose 
of all reason, namely, unity and system. Or we must 
break off the system arbitrarily, and affirm an absolute 
something that is in and of itself at once cause and effect, 
{causa sui) subject and object, or, rather, the absolute 
identity of both. But as this is inconceivable, except in 
a self-consciousness, it follows, that even ^ natural phi.- 


fosophers we must arrive at the same principle from 
which as transcendental philosophers we set out ; that is, 
in a self-consciousness in which the principium essendi 
does not stand to the principium cognoscendi in the re- 
lation of cause to effect, but both the one and the other 
are co-inherent and ihdentical. Thns the true system 
of natural philosophy places the sole reality of things in 
an ABSOLUTE, which is at once causa sui et effectus, ^a''^? 
aulonalc^Si Xios eavh—in the absolute identity of subject and 
object, which it calls nature, and which in its highest 
power is nothing else but self-conscious will or intelli- 
gence. In this sense the position of Malbranche, that we 
see all things in God, is a strict philosophical truth ; and 
equally true is the assertion of Hobbes, of Hartley, and 
of their masters in ancient Greece, that all real know- 
ledge supposes a prior sensation. For sensation itself is 
but vision nascent, not the cause of intelligence, but in- 
telligence itself revealed as an earlier power in the pro» 
cess of self construction. 

Mcixa?, rxa9t jio» ! 

Ei Traftt )to(Tfiov, 
El Traftt jioipav 
TuJv cru3v Ihyov I 

Bearing then this in mind, that intelligence is a sell^ 
development, not a quality supervening to a substance, 
we may abstract from all degree, and for the purpose of 
philosophic construction reduce it to kiiid, under the idea 
of an indestructible power, with two opposite and counter- 
acting forces, which by a metaphor borrowed from astro- 
nomy, we may call the centrifugal and centripedal forces... 
The intelligence in the one tends io ohjectize itself, and I 
in the other to know itself in the object. It will be here- 
after my business to construct, by a series of intuitions, the 
progressive schemes that must follow from such a power 
with such forces, till I arrive at the fulness of the human 
intelligence. For my present purpose, I assume such a 
power as my principle, in order to deduce from it a fa- 
culty, the generation, agency, and application of which 
form the contents of the ensuing chapter. 

In a preceding page I have justified the use of tech- 
nical terms in philosophy, whenever they tend to pre- 


dude confusion of thought, and when they assist the me- 
mory by the exclusive singleness of their meaning more 
than they may, for a short time, bewilder the attention 
by their strangeness. I trust, that I have not extended 
this privilege beyond the grounds on which I have claim- 
ed it ; namely^Jhe conveniency of the scholastic phrase 
to distinguish the kind from all degrees, or rather to ex- 
press the kind with the abstraction of degree, as, for in- 
stance, multeity instead of multitude ; or, secondly, for 
the sake of correspondence in sound and interdependent 
or antithetical terms, as subject and object ; or, lastly, to 
avoid the wearying recurrence of circumlocutions and de- 
tinitions. Thus 1 shall venture to use potence, in order 
to express a specific degree of a power, in imitation of 
the algebraists. I have even hazarded the new verb 
potenziate, with its derivatives, in order to express the 
combination or transfer of powers. It is with new or 
unusual terms, as with privileges in courts of justice or 
legislature ; there can be no legitimate privilege^ where 
there already exists a positive law adequate to the pur- 
pose ; and when there is no law in existence, the privi- 
lege is to be justified by its accordance with the end, or 
final cause of all law. Unusual and nev/-coined words 
are doubtless an evil; but vagueness, confusion, and im- 
perfect conveyance of our thoughts, are a far greater. 
Every system, which is under the necessity of using 
terms not familiarized by the metaphysics in fashion, will 
be described as written in an unintelligible style, and the 
author must expect the charge of having substituted learn- 
ed jargon for clear conception ; while, according to the 
creed of our modern philosophers, nothing is deemed a 
clear conception, but what is representable by a distinct 
image. Thus the conceivable is reduced within the 
bounds of the picturable. Hinc patet, qut fiat ut, cum 
irreprcEsentable et impossibile vulgo ejusdem significatus 
habeantur, conceptus tarn Continui^ quam infiniti, a plu- 
rimis rejeciantur, quippe quorum, secundum leges cogni- 
tionis iiituitivce, repra^sentatio est impossililis. Quan- 
quamautem harum e non p.-nicis scholis explosarum noti- 
oanm, pra^sertim prions, causam hie hon gero, maximi 
tamen momenti p.rit monuisse : gravissimo illos errore la- 
bi, qui tam perversa argumentnndi patione utuntur. Quic- 
quid enim repugnat legibus intellectiis et rationis, utique 


est impossibile ; quod autem, cum rationis puras sit ob- 
jectum, legibus cognitionis intuitivae tantummodo non sub- 
est^ non item. Nam liinc dissensus inter facultatem sen- 
sitivam et intellectualem^ (quarem indole m mox exponam) 
nihil indigitat, nisi, quas mens ah intellectu accerptas fert 
ideas abstractas^ illas in concreto exequi, et in Intuitus com- 
mutare sctpemimero non posse, Haec autem reluctantia 
subjectiva mentitur, ut plurimum, repugnantiam aliquam 
objectivarn, et incautos facile fallit, limitibus, quibus mens 
fiumana circuscribitnr, pro iis habitis, quibus ipsa rerum 

essentia continetur.* Kant de Mundi Sensibilis atque 

fntelligibilis forma et principiis, 1770. 

Critics, who are most ready to bring this charge of pe- 
dantry and unintelliii;ibility, are the most apt to overlook 
the important fact, that beside the language of words, 
there is a language of spirits (sermo interior) and that the 
former is only the vehicle of the latter. Consequently, 
their assurance, that the}^ do not understand the philoso- 
phic writer, intead of proving any thing against the phi- 
losophy, may furnish an equal and (caeteris paribus) even 
a stronger presumption against their own philosophic 

* Trnmlation. — *-' Hence it is clear, from what cause many reject the 
iiotion of the continuous and the infinite. They take, namely, the words 
irrepresentable ai.d impo>sit>le, in one and the same meaning;; and, ac- 
cording to the forms- of sensuous evidence, the notion of the continuous 
and the infinite is doubtless impossible. 1 am not now pleading the 
cause of these lans, which not a few schools have thought proper to ex- 
plode, especially the former (the law of continuity.) But it is of^the high- 
est importance to admonish the reader, that those who adopt so perverted 
a mode of reasoning, are under a grievous errer. Whatever opposes the 
formal principles of the understanding and the reason is confessedly im- 
possible but not therefore that vviiich is therefore not amenable to the 
i'ovms of sensuous evidence, because it is exclusively an object of pure intel- 
lect. For this non -coincidence of the sensuous and the mtellectual, (the 
nature of which 1 shall presently lay open) proves nothing more but that 
the mind cannot always adeo,uately represent in the concrete, and trans- 
form iito distinct images, abstract notions derived from the pure intellect. 
But this contradiction, which is in itself merely subjective, (i. e. an incapa- 
city in the nature of man) too often passes for an incongruity or impossi- 
bilty in the object (i. e. the notions themselves) and seduce the incau- 
tious to mistake the limitations of the human faculties for the limits of 
things, as they really exist." 

I take this occasion to observe that here and elsewhere, Kant uses the 
terms intuition, and the verb active intueri, fgermanic^, anschaueji) for 
which we have unfortunately no corres))ondent word, ex'lusively for that 
which can be represented in space and time He therefore consistently, 
and rightly, denies the possibihty of intellectual intuitions. But as I see 
no adequate reason for this exclusive sense of the term, I have reverted 
to its wider signification authorized by our elder theologians and meta- 
physicians, according to whom the term comiDrehends all truths known 
to u,$ without a medium. 


Great indeed are the obstacles which an English meta- 
physician has to encounter. Amongst his most respect- 
able and intelligent judges, there will be many who have 
devoted their attention exclusively to the concerns and 
interests of human life, and who bring with them to the 
perusal of a philosophic system an habitual aversion to all 
speculations, the utihty and application of which are not 
evident and immediate. To these I would, in the first 
instance, merely oppose an authority which they them- 
selves hold venerable, that of Lord Bacon : non inutile 
scientioB existimande sunt, quarum in se nullus est usus, 
si ingenia acuant et ordinent. 

There are others, whose prejudices are still more for- 
midable, inasmuch as they are grounded in their moral 
feelings and religious principles, which had been alarmed 
and shocked by the impious and pernicious tenets de- 
defended by Hume, Priestly, and the French fatalists or 
necessitarians ; some of whom had perverted metaphy- 
sical reasonings to the denial of the mysteries, and, in- 
deed, of all the peculiar doctrines of Christianity ; and 
others even to the subversion of all distinction between 
right and wrong. I would request such men to consider 
what an eminent and successful defender of the christian 
faith has observed, that true methaphysics are nothing 
else but true divinity, and that in fact the writers who 
have given them such just offence, were sophists, who 
had taken advantage of the general neglect into which the 
science of logic has unhappily fallen, rather than meta- 
physicians, a name, indeed, which those writers were the 
first to explode as unmeaning. Secondly, I would re- 
mind them, that as long as there are men in the world to 
whom the Tvw^i aiavrov is an instinct and a command from 
their own nadure, so long will there be metaphysicians 
and metaphysical speculations ; that false metaphysics 
can be effectually counteracted by true metaphysics alone ; 
and that if the reasoning be clear, solid, and pertinent, the 
truth deduced can never be the less valuable on account 
of the depth from which it may have been drawn. 

A third class profess themselves friendly to metaphysics, 
and beUeve that they are themselves metaphysicians. 
They have no objection to system or terminology, provided 
it be the method and the nomenclature to which they have 
been familiarized in the writings of Locke, Hume; Hart- 

VoL. I. 15 


ley, Condiliac, or, perhaps, Dr. Reid and Professor Stew- 
art. To objections from this cause, it is a sufficient an- 
swer, that one main object of my attempt was to demon- 
strate the vagueness or insufficiency of the terms used in 
the metaphysical schools of France and Great Britain 
since the revolution, and that the errors which I pro- 
pose to attack cannot subsist, except as they are con- 
cealed behind the mask of a plausible and indefinite no- 

But the worst and widest impediment still remains. 
It is the predominance of a popular philosophy, at once 
the counterfeit and the mortal enemy of all true and 
manly metaphysical research. It is that corruption, in- 
troduced by certain immethodical aphorisming Eclectics, 
who, dismissing, not only all system, but all logical con- 
nexion, pick and choose whatever is most plausible and 
showy ; who select whatever words can have some 
semblance of sense attached to them without the least 
expenditure of thought ; in short, whatever may enable 
men to talk of what they do not understand, with a care- 
ful avoidance of every thing that might awaken them to 
a moment'^ suspicion of their ignorance. This, alas I 
is an irremediable disease, for it brings with it, not so 
much an indisposition to any particular system, but an 
utter loss of taste and faculty for all system and for all 
philosophy. Like echos, that beget each other amongst 
the mountains, the praise or blame of such men rolls in 
volleys long after the report from the original blunder- 
buss. Sequacitas est potius et coitio quam consensus : 
et tamen (quod pessimum est) pusillanimitas ista non sine 
arrogantia et fastidio si offert. Novum Organum, 

I shall now proceed to the nature and genesis of the 
imagination ; but I must first take leave to notice, that 
after a more accurate perusal of Mr. Wordsworth's re- 
marks on the imagination in his preface to the new edi- 
tion of his poems, I find that my conclusions are not so 
consentient with his, as, I confess, 1 had taken for grant- 
ed. In an article contributed by me to Mr. Southey's 
Omniana, on the soul and its organs of sense, are the fol- 
lowing sentences. " These (the human faculties) I would 
arrange under the different senses and powers ; as the 
eye, the ear, the touch, &c. ; the imitative power, vo- 
luntary aud automatic ; the imagination, or shaping and 


modifying power ; the fancy, or the aggregative and as- 
sociative power ; the understanding, or the regulative, 
substantiating and reahzing power ; the speculative rea- 
son — vis theoretica et scientiiica, or the power by which 
we produce, or aim to produce unity, necessity, and uni- 
versality in all our knowledge by means of principles 
a priori ;* the will, or practical reason ; the faculty of 
choice (Germanice^ Willkiihr) and (distinct both from the 
moral will and the choice) the sensation of volition, which 
I have found reason to include under the head of single 
and double touch." To this, as far as it relates to the 
subject in question, namely, the words {the aggregative 
and associative pozcer) Mr. Wordsworth's '' only objec- 
tion is that the definition is too general. To aggregate 
and to associate, to evoke and combine, belong as well 
to the imagination as the fancy." 1 reply, that if by the 
power of evoking and combining, Mr. W. means the 
same as, and no more than, 1 meant by the aggregative 
and associative, I continue to deny, that it belongs at all 
to the imagination ; and I am disposed to conjecture, 
that he has mistaken the co-presence of fancy with im- 
agination for the operation of the latter singly. A man 
may work with two very difterent tools at the same mo- 
ment ; each has its share in the work, but the work ef- 
fected by each, is distinct and different. But it will 
probably appear in the next Chapter, that deeming it 
necessary to go back much further than Mr. Words- 
worth's subject required or permitted, 1 have attached 
a meaning to both fancy and imagination, which he had 
not in view, at least w^hile he w^as writing that preface. 
He will judge. Would to heaven, I might meet with 
many such readers. I will conclude w^ith the words of 
Bishop Jeremy Taylor : he to whom all things are one, 
who draweth all things to one, and seeth all things in 
one, may enjoy true peace and rest of spirit. (J. I'ay- 
lor^s Via Pacis.) 

^ This phrase, a priori^ is in common most grossly misunderstood, and 
an absurdity burthcned on it, whic h it does not deserve ! By knowledge, 
aprioriy we do not mean, that we ran know any thing" proviousl} to ex- 
perience, which would be a contradiction in terras ; but, thathavin<f once 
known it by occasion of expeiirnre, (i. e. something' acting" upOxi us from 
without,) \vv then know, that it must have pre-existed, or the cxp< \ience 
itself would have been impossible. By experience only, I kiiow that I 
h?ve . yes ; but, then my reason convinces me, that I must have had eyes 
in order lo the experience. 



On the imagination^ or e9emplastic poui^. 

O Adam ! one Almighty is, from whom 

Ail things proceed, and up to him return, 

}f not depraved from good : created all 

Such to perfection, one first nature all 

Indued with various forms, various degrees 

Of substance, and in things that live, of life; 

But more refin'd, more spiritous and pure, 

As nearer to him placed or nearer tending, 

Each in their several active spheres assigned. 

Till body up to spirit work, in bounds 

Proportion'd to each kind So from the root 

Springs lighter the green stalk : from thence the leaves 

More airy : last, the bright consummate flower 

Spirits odorous breathes. Flowers and their fruit, 

Man's nourishment, by gradual scale subliraM, 

To vital spirits aspire : to animal •• 

To intellectual ! — give both life and sense, 

Fancy and understanding : whence the soul 

Reaso>^ receives. And reason is her beings 

Discursive or intuitive. 

Par. Lost, b. v. 

*^ Sane si res corporales nil nisi materiale continerent, ve- 
rissime dicerentur in fluxu consistere neque habere substan- 
liale quicquam, quemadinodum et Platonici olim recte agno- 
vere. — Hinc igitur, praeter pure mathematica et phantasies 
subjecta, collegi qucedam metaphysica solaque mente percep- 
tibilia, esse admittenda : et massi materiali />Wnc?*piwm quod- 
dam siiperius et, ut sic dicam, formale addendum : quando- 
quidem omnes veritates rerum corporearum ex solis axioma- 
tibus logisticis et geometricis, nempe de magno et parvo, toto 
et parte, figura el situ, colligi non pobsint ; sod alia de causa 
et eiFectu, adioneqiie et passioncy accederc debeant, quibus 


ordinis rerum rationes salventur. Td principium rerum, aa 
ivlEKex'iiCiv an vim appelemus, non refert, modo meminerimus, 
per solam Virium notionem intelligibiliter explicari." 

Leibnitz : Op. T. II. P. IL p. 53.— T. III. p, 321. 

Xa)?6. TI MESON 

SvxEsii, HijmnUL I 231. 

Des Cartes, speaking as a naturalist, and in imitation 
of Archimedes, said, give ine matter and motion and I 
will construct you the universe. We must of course 
understand him to have meant : I will render the con- 
struction of the universe intelligible. In the same sense 
the transcendental philosopher says, grant me a nature 
having two contrary forces, the one of which tends to 
expand infinitely, while the other strives to apprehend 
or Jind itself in this inanity, and I will cause the world 
of intelligences with the whole system of their repre- 
sentations to riae up before you. Every other science 
pre-supposes intelligence as already existing and com- 
plete : the philosopher contemplates it in its growth, 
and, as it were, represents its history to the mind from 
its birth to its maturity. 

The venerable Sage of Koenigsberg has preceded the 
march of this master-thought as an effective pioneer in 
his essay on the introduction of negative quantities into 
philosophy, published 1763. In this, he has show^n, that 
instead of assailing the science of mathem-ritics by meta« 
physics, as Berkley did in his Analyst, or of sophisticat- 
ing it, as Wolff did, by the vain attempt of deducing the 
first principles of geometry from supposed deeper 
grounds of ontology, it behooved the metaphysician rather 


lo examine whether the only province of knowledge, 
which man has succeeded in erecting into a pure sci- 
enr.e, might not furnish materials, or at least hints for 
establishing and pacifying the unsettled, warring, and 
embroiled domain of philosophy. An imitation of the 
mathematical method^ had indeed b'^en attempted with 
no better success than attended the essay of David to 
wear the armour of Saul. Another use, however, is 
possible, and of far greater promise, namely, the actual 
application of the positions which had so wonderfully en- 
larged the discoveries of geometry, mutatis mutandis, to 
j)hilosophical subjects. Kant, having briefly illustrated 
the utility of such an attempt in the questions of space, 
motion, and infinitely small quantities, as employed by 
the mathematician, proct(^ds to the idea of negative quan- 
tities and the transfer of them to metaphysical invest'ga- 
tion. Opposites, he well observes, are of two kinds, 
either logical, i. e. such as are absolutely incompatible ; 
or real, without being contradictory. The former, he 
denominates Nihil negativum irrepraesentabile, the con- 
nexion of which produces nonsense. A body in motion 
is something — Aliquid cogitabile ; but a body, at one and 
the same time in motion and not in motion, is nothing, or, 
at most, air articulated into nonsense. But a motory 
force of a body in one direction, and an equal force of 
the same body in an opposite direction is not incompati- 
ble, and the result, namely, rest, is real and representa- 
ble. For the purposes of mathematical calculus it is 
indifferent, which force we term negative, and which 
positive, and consequently, we appropriate the latter to 
that which happens to be the principal object in our 
thoughts. Thus, if a man's capital be ten and his debts 
eight, the subtraction will be the same, whether we call 
the capital negative debt, or the debt negative capital- 
But in as much as the latter stands practically in refer- 
ence to the former, we of course represent the sum as 
10 — 8. It is equally clear, that two equal forces acting 
in opposite directions, both being finite, and each distin- 
guished from the other by its direction only, must neu- 
tralize or reduce each other to inaction. Now the tran- 
scendental philosophy demands, first, that two forces 
should be conceived which counteract each other by 
their essential nature ; not only not in consequence of 


the accidental direction of each, but as prior to all di- 
rection, nay, as the primary forces from which the con- 
ditions of all possible directions are derivative and de- 
duvible : secondly, that these forces should be assumed 
to be both alike infinite, both alike indestructible. The 
problem will then be to discover the result or product 
of two such forces, as distinguished from the result of 
those forces which are finite, and derive their difference 
solely from the circumstance of their direction. When 
we have formed a scheme or outline of these two dif- 
ferent kinds of force, and of their different results by the 
process of discursive reasoning, it will then remain for 
us to elevate the Thesis from notional to actual, by con- 
templating intuitively this one power with its two inhe- 
rent, indestructible, yet counteracting forces, and the re- 
sults or generations to which their inter-penetration 
gives existence, in the living principle, and in the pro- 
cess of our own self-consciousness. By what instru- 
ment this is possible the solution itself will discover, at 
the same time that it will reveal to, and for whom it is 
possible. Non omnia possumes omnes. There is a phi- 
losophic, no less than a poetic genius, which is differ- 
enced from the highest perfection of talent, not by de- 
gree, but by kind. 

The counteraction, then, of the two assumed forces, 
does not depend on their meeting from opposite directions; 
the power which acts in them is indestructible ; it is, 
therefore, inexhaustibly re-ebullient ; and as something 
must be the result of these two forces, both alike infinite, 
and both alike indestructible ; and, as rest or neutraliza- 
tion cannot be this result, no other conception is possible, 
but that the product must be a tertium aliquid, or finite 
generation. Consequently, this conception is necessary. 
Now this tertium aliquid can be no other than an inter- 
penetration of the counteracting powers partaking of 

Thus far had the work been transcribed for the press^ 
w^hen I received the following letter from a friend, whose 
practical judgment I have had ample Yeason to estimate 
and revere, and whose taste and sensibility preclude all 
the excuses which my self-love might possibly hav^. 


prompted me to setup in plea against the decision of ad- 
visers of equal good sense, but with less tact and feeling. 

''Dear C, 

" You ask my opinion concerning rjoxir chapter on the 
imagination^ both as to the impressions it made on mijself^ 
and as to those which I think it will make on the public, 
/'. e. that part of the public who, from the title of the work, 
and from its forming a sort of introduction to a volume of 
poems, are likely to constitute the great majority of your 

''As to myself and stating, in the first place, the eff'ect 
on my understanding, your opinions, and method of argu- 
vient, were not only so new to me, but so directly the reverse 
of all I had ever been accustomed to consider as truth, 
that, even if I had comprehended your premises sufficiently 
tx) have admitted them, and had seen the necessity of your 
conclusions, I should still have been in that state of mind^ 
which, in your note, p, 50, you have so ingeniously evolved, 
as the antithesis to that in which a man is when he makes a 
bull. In your own Zi)ords, I shoidd have felt as if I had 
been standing on my head, 

'* The eff'ect on my feelings, on the other hand, I can^iot 
better represent, than by supposing myself to have known 
only our light, airy, modern chapels of ease, and then, 
for the first time, to have beeti placed, and left alone, in 
one of our largest Gothic cathedrals, in a gusty moonlight 
niglit of autumn. " JVow in glimmer, and noxo in gloom ;" 
often in palpable darkness, 7iot W'ithout a chilly sensation of 
terror ; then suddenly emerging into broad, yet visionary^ 
lights with coloured shadows of fantastic shapes, yet all 
decked with holy insignia and mystic symbols ; and, ever 
and anon, coming out full upon pictures, and stone-work 
images of great men, W'ith wJwse names I was familiar, 
hut which looked upon me with countenances and an expres- 
sion, the most dissimilar to all I had been in the habit of 
connecting with those names. Those whom I had been taught 
to venerate as almost super-human in magnitude of intel- 
lect, J found perched in little fret-work niches, as grotesque 
dwarfs ; zvhile the grotesques, in my hitherto belief, stood 
guarding the high altar with all fh^ characters of Apothe- 
ms. In short, zvhat I had supposed substances^ were thinned 


away into shadows, whilcy every where, shadows were deep- 
ened into substances : 

If substance may be called what shadow seem'd, 
For each seemM either ! 


*' Yet, after all, I could not but repeat the lines which you 
had quoted from a MS, poem of your own in the Friendj 
and applied to a work of Mr, Wordsworth'' Sy though with 
a few of the words altered : 

An Orphic tale indeed. 

A tale obscure of high and passionate thoughts 
To a strange music cbaunted !" 

** Be assured, however, that I look forward anxiously to 
your great book on the constructive philosophy, which 
you have promised and announced : and that I will do my 
best to understand it. Only, I will not promise to descend 
into the dark cave of Trophonius with you, there to rub 
my own eyes, in order to make the sparks and figured 
flashes which I am required to see. 

*' So much for myself But, as for the public, I do not 
hesitate a tnoment in advising and urging you to zmthdraza) 
the chapter from, the present work^ and to reserve it for your 
announced treatises on the Logos or communicative intel- 
lect in Man and Deity. First, because, impterfectly as I 
understand the present chapter, I see clearly that you have 
done too much, and yet not enough. You have been obliged 
to omit so many links from the necessity of compressioUy 
that what remains, looks, {if I may recur to my former iU 
lustration,^ like the fragmetits of the winding steps of an 
old ruined tower. Secondly, a still stronger argument, 
(^at least, one that I am sure will be more forcible with you^\ 
is, that your readers will have both right and reason to 
complain of you. This chapter, which cannot, when it is 
printed, amount to so little as an hundred pages, will, of 
necessity, greatly increase the expense of the work ; and 
every reader who, like myself is neither prepared, or, per- 
haps, calculated for the study of so abstruse a subject so 
abstrusely treated, will, as I have before hinted, be almost 
entitled to accuse you of a sort of imposition on him. For 
T^'hoj he might truly observe, could, from your title-page^ 


tiz., '*g^p ijtaar? lift anu ©pinionig," pnhhshed, too, as 
introductory to a volume of miscellaneous poems, have an- 
ticipated, or even conjectured, a long treatise on ideal Re- 
ahstn, rvhich holds the same relation, in abstruseness, to . 
Plotinus, as Plotinus does to Plato, It unll he zvell if, al- 
ready, you have not too much of metaphysical disquisition 
in your work, though, as the larger part of the disquisition 
IS historical, it will, doubtless, be both interesting and in- 
structive to many, to whose unprepared minds your specu- 
lations on the esemplastic powder would be utterly unintelli- 
gible. Be assured, if you do publish this chapter in tlie 
present work, you will be reminded of Bishop Berkley's 
Siris, announced as an Essay on Tar-water, zcJiich, begin- 
ning with tar, ends with the Trinity, the omne scibile form- 
ing the interspace, I say in the present work. In that 
greater work to which you have devoted so many years, and 
study so intense and various, it will be ?n its proper place. 
Your prospectus will have described a?id announced both its 
eontents and their nature ; and if ajiy persons purchase it, 
who feel no interest in the subjects of which it treats, they 
will have themselves only to blame, 

^^ I coidd add, to these arguments, one derived from pe- 
cuniary motives, and particularly from the probable eff'ects 
on the sale of yc^jr present publication ; but they would 
''weigh little with you, compared with the preceding. Be- 
sides, I have long observed, that ars:uments drazim from 
your own personal interests, more often act on you as nar- 
cotics than as stimulants, and that, in money concerns, you 
have some small portioti of pig-nature in yotir moral idio- 
syncracy,and, like these amiable creatures, must, occasional- 
ly, be pulled backward from the boat in order to make you 
enter it. All success attend you, for if hard thinking and 
hard reading arc merits, you have deserved it. 

Your affectionate, tj-c." 

In consequence of this very judicious letter, which 
produced complete conviction on n)y mind, \ shall con- 
tent myself for the present with stating the main result 
of the Chapter, which I have reserved for that future 
publication, a detailed prospectus of Vvhich the reader 
will find at the close of the second volume. 

The IMAGINATION, then, 1 consider either as primary 
pr secondary. The primary imagii\ation I bold to be 


the living Power and prime Agent of all human Percep- 
tion, and as a repetition in the finite mind of the eternal 
act of creation in the infinite I am. The secondary I 
consider as an echo of the former, co-existing with the 
conscious will, jet still as identical with the primary in 
the kind of its agency, and differing only in degree^ and 
in the mode of its operation. It dissolves, diffuses, dis- 
sipates, in order to re-create ; or, where this process is 
rendered impossible, yet still, at all events, it struggles 
to idealize and to unify, it is essentially vital, even as 
all objects, {as objects,) are essentially fixed and dead. 

Fancy, on the contrary, has no other counters to play 
with, but fixities and definites. The Fancy is, indeed, no 
other than a mode of Memory emancipated from the or- 
der of time and space, and blended with, and modified 
by that empirical phenomenon of the will which we ex- 
press by the word choice. But, equally with the ordi- 
nary memory, it must receive all its materials ready 
made from the law of association. 

Whatever, more than this, I shall think it ^i to declare, 
concerning the powers and privileges of the imagination, 
in the present work, will be found in the critical essay 
on the uses of the supernatural in poetry, and the prin- 
ciples that regulate its introduction ; which the reader 
will find prefixed to the poem of %\)% indent Spanitfr. 











No. 22 Wall-street. 




Occanon of the Lyrical Ballads, and the objects originally 
proposed — Prejace to the second edition — The ensuing 
controversy, its causes and acrimony — Philosophic defi- 
nitions of a poem, and poetry with scholia. 

During the first year that Mr. Wordsworth and I were 
neighbours, our conversations turned frequently on the 
two cardinal points of poetry, the power of exciting the 
sympathy of the reader by a faithful adherence to the 
truth of nature, and the power of giving the interest of 
novelty, by the modifying colours of imagination. The 
sudden charm, which accidents of light and shade, 
which moon-light or sun-set, diffused over a known and 
familiar landscape, appeared to represent the practicabi- 
lity of combining both. These are the poetry of nature. 
The thought suggested itself, (to which of us i do not re- 
collect,) that a series of poems might be composed of 
two sorts. In the one, the incidents and agents were to 
be, in part at least, supernatural ; and the excellence 
aimed at, was to consist in the interesting of the affec- 
tions by the dramatic truth of such emotions, as would 
naturally accompany such situations, supposing them real. 
And real in this sense they have been to every human 
being who, from whatever source of delusion, has at any 
time believed himself under supernatural agency. For 
the second class, subjects were to be chosen from ordina- 
ry li.e ; the characters and incidents were to be such as 
will be found in every village and its vicinity, where 
there is a meditative and feeling mind to seek after them, 
or to notice them^ when they present themselves. 

In this idea originated the plan of the '* Lyrical Bal- 
lads ;" in which it was agreed, that my endeavours 
should be directed to persons and characters supernatu- 

j:al, or at least, romantic ; yet so as to transfer from eur 
inward nature a human interest, and a semblance of truth 
sufficient to procure for these shadows of imagination that 
williflg suspension of disbelief for the moment, which 
constitutes poetic faith. Mr. Wordsworth, on the other 
hand, was to propose to himself, as his object, to give the 
charm of novelty to things of every day, and to excite 
a feeling analogous to the supernatural, by awakening the 
mind's attention from the lethargy of custom, and direct- 
ing it to the loveliness and the wonders of the world be- 
fore us ; an inexhaustible treasure, but for w hich, in con- 
sequence of the film of familiarity and selfish solicitudCj 
we have eyes, yet see not, ears that hear not, and hearts^ 
that neither feel nor understand. 

With this view, I wrote the '* Ancient Mariner," and 
was preparing, among other poems, the " Dark Ladie," 
and the " Christobel," in which I should have mere 
nearly realized my ideal, than I had done in my first at- 
tempt. But Mr, Wordsworth's industry, had proved so 
much more successful, and the number of his poems so 
much greater, that my compositions, instead of forming 
a balance, appeared rather an interpolation of heteroge- 
iieous matter. Mr. Wordsworth added two or three po- 
ems written in his own character, in the impassioned, 
lofty, and sustained diction, which is characteristic of his 
genius. In this form the '' Lyrical Ballads" w^ere pub- 
lished ; and weri^ presented by him, as an experiment ^ 
whether subjects, which, from their nature, rejected the 
Visual ornaments and extra-colloquial style of poems in 
general, might not be so managed in the language of 
ordinary life, as to produce the pleasurable interest 
which it is the peculiar business of poetry to impart. 
To the second edition he added a preface of considera- 
ble length ; in which, notwithstanding some passages of 
apparently a contrary import, he was understood to con- 
tend for the extension of this style to poetry of all kinds, 
and to reject as vicious and indefensible all phrases and 
forms of style that were not included, in what he (unfor- 
tunately, I think, adopting an equivocal expression,) cal- 
led the language of real life. From this preface, prefix- 
ed to poems in which it was impoi^sible to deny the pre- 
sence of original genius, however mistaken its direction 
might be deemed, arose the whole long continued contro- 

Tersy. For from the conjunction of perceived power 
with supposed heresy, I explain the inveteracy, and, in 
some instances, I grieve to say, the acrimonious passions, 
with which the controversy has beea conducted by the 

Had Mr. Wordsworth's poems been the silly, the child- 
ish things, which they were for a long time described as 
being; had they been really distinguished from the com- 
positions of other poets, merely by meanness of language 
and inanity of thought ; had they, indeed, contained 
nothing more than what is found in the parodies, and 
pretended imitations of them ; they must have sunk at 
once, a dead weight, into the slough of oblivion, and have 
dragged the preface along with them^ But year after year 
increased the number of Mr. Wordworth's admirers. 
They were found, too, not in the lower classes of the 
reading public, but chiefly among youug men of strong 
sensibility and meditative minds ; and their admiration 
(inflamed, perhaps, in some degree by opposition) was 
distinguished by its intensity, 1 might almost say, by its 
religious fervour. These facts, and the intellectual ener- 
gy of the author, which was more or less consciously 
felt, where it was outwardly and even boisterously de- 
nied ; meeting with sentiments of aversion to his opinions, 
and of alarm at their consequences, produced an eddy 
of criticism, which would, of itself, have borne up the 
poems by the violence with which it whirled them round 
and round. With many parts of this preface, in the sense 
attributed to them, and which the words undoubtedly 
seem to authorize, I never concurred ; but, on the con 
trary, objected to them as erroneous in principle, and as 
contradictory (in appearance at least) both to other 
parts of the same preface, and to the author's own prac- 
tice in the greater number of the poems themselves. Mr. 
Wordsworth, in his recent collection, has, I find, degraded 
this prefatory disquisition to the end of his second volume,, 
to be read or not at the reader's choice. But he has not, 
as far as 1 can discover, announced any change in his po- 
etic creed. At all events, considering it as the source of 
a controversy, in which I have been honoured more than 
1 deserve, by the frequent conjunction of my name with 
his, 1 think it expedient to declare, once for all, in what 
points 1 coincide with his opinions, and in what points I 


altogether differ. But in order to render myself intelli- 
gible, 1 must previously, in as few words as possible, ex- 
plain my ideas, first, of a poem ; and, secondly, of poetry 
itself, in kind^ and in essence. 

The office of philosophical disquisition consists in just 
distinction ; while it is the privilege of the philosopher 
to preserve himself constantly aw^are, that distinction is 
not division. In order to obtain adequate notions of any 
truth, we must intellectually separate its distinguishable 
parts ; and this is the technical process of philosophy. 
But having so done, we must then restore them in our 
conceptions to the unity, in which they actually co-ex- 
ist ; and this is the result of philosophy. A poem con- 
tains the same elements as a prose composition ; the dif- 
ference, therefore, must consist in a different combination 
of them, in consequence of a different object proposed. 
j\ccording to the difference of the object will be the dif- 
ference of the combination. It is possible, that the ob- 
ject may be merely to facilitate the recollection of any 
given facts or observations, by artificial arrangement ; 
and the composition will be a poem, merely because it is 
distinguished from prose by metre, or by rhyme, or by 
both conjointly. In this, the lowest sense, a man might 
attribute the name of a poem to the well-know^n enume- 
ration of the days in the several months: 

** Thirty days hath September, 
ApriJ, June, and jNovember, &c." 

and others of the same class and purpose. And as a par- 
ticular pleasure is found in anticipating the recurrence of 
sounds and quantities, all compositions that have this 
charm superadded, whatever be their contents, may be 
entitled poems. 

>So much for the superficiaiybrm. A difference of ob- 
ject and contents s\jpplies an additional ground of dis- 
tinction. The immediate purpose may be the communi- 
cation of truths ; either of truth absolute and demonstra- 
ble, as in works of science ; or of facts experienced and 
recorded, as in history Pleasure, and that of the high- 
est and most permanent kind, may result from the attain^ 
ment of the end ; but it is not itself the immediate end. 
In other works the communication of pleasure may be 

tlie immediate purpose ; and though truth, either moral 
or inteJlectual, ought to be the ultimate end, jet this will 
distinguish the character of the author, not the class to 
which the work belongs. Blest, indeed, is that state of 
society, in which the immediate purpose would be baf- 
fled by the perversion of the proper ultimate end ; in 
which no charm of diction or imagery could exempt the 
Bathyllus even of an Anacreon, or the Alexis of Virgil, 
from disgust and aversion ! 

But the communication of pleasure may be the imme- 
diate object of a work not metrically composed ; and that 
object may have been in a high degree attained, as in 
novels and romances. Would then the mere superaddi- 
tion of metre, with or without rhyme, entitle these to the 
name of poems ? The answer is, that nothing can perma- 
nently please, which does not contain in itself the reason 
why it is so, and not otherwise. \i metre be superadded, 
ail other parts must be made consonant with it. They 
must be such as to justify the perpetual and distinct at- 
tention to each part, which an exact correspondent recur- 
rence of accent and sound are calculated to excite. The 
final definition, then, so deduced, may be thus worded : 
A poem is that species of composit.on, which is opposed 
to works of science, by proposing for its immediate object 
pleasure, not truth ; and from all other species (having 
this object in common with it,) it is discriminated by pro- 
posing to itself such delight from the whole, as is compa- 
tible with a distinct gratification from each component 

Controversy is not seldom excited, in consequence of 
the disputants attaching each a different meaning to the 
same word ; and in iew instances has this been more 
striking than in disputes concerning the present subject. 
If a man chooses to call every composition a poem, 
which is rhyme, or measure, or both, 1 must leave his 
opinion uncontroverted. The distinction is at least com- 
petent to characterize the writer's intention. If it were 
subjoined, that the whole is likewise entertaining or afF< ct- 
ing, as a tale, or as a series of interesting reflections, I of 
course admit this as another fit ingr^edient of a poem, 
and an additional merit. But if the definition sought for 
be that of a legitimate poem, [ answer, it must be one, 
the parts of which mutually support and explain each 


Other; all in their proportion harmonizing with, and sup- 
porting the purpose and known influences of metrical ar- 
rangement. The philosophic critics of all ages coincide 
with the ultimate judgment of all countries, in equally 
denying the praises of a just poem, on the one hand, to 
a series of striking lines or distichs, each of which, ab- 
sorbing the whole attention of the reader to itself, dis- 
joins it from its context, and makes it a separate whole, 
instead of an harmonizing part ; and on the other hand, 
to an unsustained composition, from which the reader 
collects rapidly the general result, unattracted by the 
component parts. The reader should be carried forward, 
not merely, or chiefly, bv the mechanical impulse of cu- 
riosity, or by a restless desire to arri?e at the final solu- 
tion ; but by the pleasurable activity of mind, excited 
by the attractions of the journey itself. Like the motion 
of a serpent, which the Egyptians made the emblem of 
intellectual power ; or like the path of sound through the 
air J at every step he pauses, and half recedes, and, from 
the retrogressive movement, collects the force which 
again carries him onward. Precipitandus est liber spiri- 
tus^ says Petronius Arbiter, most happily. The epithet, 
liber, here balances the preceding verb ; and, it is not 
easy to conceive more meaning, condensed in fewer 

But if this should be admitted as a satisfactory charac- 
ter of a poem, we have still to seek for a definition of 
poetry. The writings of Plato, and Bishop Taylor^ 
and the Theoria Sacra of Burnet, furnish undeniable 
truths that poetry of the highest kind may exist without 
metre, and even without the contra-distinguishing objects 
oi a poem. The first chapter of Isaiah, (indeed a very 
large portion of the whole book,) is poetry in the most 
emphatic sense ; yet it would be not less irrational than 
strange to assert, that pleasure, and not truth, was the 
immediate object of the prophet. In short, whatever 
specific import we attach to the word, poetry, there will 
be found involved in it, as a necessary consequence, 
that a poem of any length, neither can be, or ought to be, 
all poetry. Yet if an harmonious whole is to be pro- 
duced, the remaining parts must be preserved in keeping 
with the poetry ; and this can be no otherwise effected 
than by such a studied selection and artificial arrange- 

ment, as will partake of 07ie, though not di peculiar, pro- 
perty of poetry. And this, again, can be no other thin 
the property of exciting a more continuous and equal at- 
tention, than the language of prose aims at, whether 
colloquial or written. 

My own conclusions on the nature of poetry, in the 
strictest use of the word, have been, in part, anticipated 
in the preceding disquisition on the f^incy and imagination. 
What is poetry ? is so nearly the same question with, 
what is a poet ? that the answer to the one is involved 
in the solution of the other. For it is a distinction re- 
sulting from the poetic genius itself, v/hich sustains and 
modifies the images, thoughts and emotions of the poet'fi 
own mind. The poet, described in ideal perfection, 
brings the whole soul of man into activity, with the sub- 
ordination of its faculties to each other, according to their 
relative worth and dignity. He diffuses a tone and 
spirit of unity, that blends, and, (as it were,) fuses, each 
into each, by that synthetic and magical power, to which 
we have exclusively appropriated the name of imagi- 
nation. This power, first put in action by the will and 
understanding, and retained under their irremissive, 
though gentle and unnoticed, controul, {^laxis effxrtur ha- 
benis,) reveals itself in the balance or reconciliation of 
opposite or discordant qualities ; of sameness, with dif- 
ference ; of the general, with the concrete ; the idea, 
with the image ; the individual, with the representative; 
the sense of novelty and freshness, with old and familiar 
objects ; a more than usual state of emotion, with more 
than usual order ; judgment, ever awake, and steady self 
possession, with enthusiasm and feeling profound or ve- 
hement ; and while it blends and harmonizes the natural 
and the artificial, still subordinates art to nature ; the 
manner to the matter : and our admiration of the poet to 
our sympathy with the poetry. *' Doubtless," as Sir John 
Davies observes of the soul^ (and his words may, with 
slight alteration, be applied, and even more appropriately, 
to the poetic imagination :) 

" Doubtless this could not be, but that^she turns 
Bodies to spirit by ^ablimation strange. 
As fire converts to fire the things it burns. 
As we our food into our nature change. 


From their gross matter she abstracts their forms. 
And draws a kind of quintessence from things : 
Which to her proper nature she transforms, 
To bear them light on her celestial wings. 

Thus does she, when from individual states 
She doth abstract the universal kinds ; 
Which then, re-clothed in divers names and fates, 
Steal access through our senses to our minds." 

Finally, good sense is the body of poetic genius, fan- 
cy its DRAPERY, motion its LIFE, and imagination the 
SOUL, that is every where, and in each ; and forms aM 
into one graceful and intelligent whole. 



The specific symptoms of poetic pozi)er elucidated in a 
critical analysis of Shakspeare's Venus and Adonis, and 

In the application of these principles to purposes of 
practical criticism, as employed in the appraisal of works 
more or less imperfect, 1 have endeayoured to discover 
nhat the qualities in a poem are, which may be deemed 
promises and specific symptoms of poetic power, as dis- 
tinguished from general talent determined to poetic com- 
position by accidental motives, by an act of the will, 
rather than by the inspiration of a genial and productive 
nature. In this in^ estigation, I could not, 1 thought, do 
better than keep before me the earliest work of the 
greatest genius that, perhaps, human nature has yet pro- 
duced, our myriad- minded^ Shakspeare. I mean the 
*' Venus and Adonis," and the " Lucrece ;" works which 
give at once strong promises of the strength, and yet ob- 
vious proofs of the immaturity of his genius. From these 
I abstracted the following marks, as characteristics of 
original poetic genius in general. 

1. In the " Venus and Adonis," the first and most ob- 
vious excellence, is the perfect sweetness of the versifi- 
cation ; its adaptation to the subject ; and the power 
displayed in varying the march of the words without 
passing into a loftier and more majestic rhythm than was 
demanded by the thoughts, or permitted by the propriety 
of preserving a sense of melody "predominant. The de- 
light in richness and sweetness of sound, even to a faulty 
excess, if it be evidently original, and not the result of an 
ensily imitable mechanism, I regard as a highly favoura- 
ble promise in the compositions of a young man. * The 
man that hath not music in his soul," can, indeed, never 
be a genuine poet. Imagery (even taken from nature, 

* 'AvT)(3 jiujiovSj, a phrase which I have borrowed from a Greek monk, 
nho applies it to a Patriarch of Cocstfiiitinople. I might have said, thai 
I have reclaimed, rather than borrowed it ; for it seems to belong to Shak- 
speare, de jure singuiari, et ex privileg^io naturae. 



much more when transplanted from books, as travels, 
Toyages, and works of natural history) affecting incidents ; 
jiist thoughts ; interesting personal or donae^tic feelings.; 
and with these the art of their comhination or intertex- 
ture in the form of a poem ; may all, bv incessant effort, 
be acquired as a trade, by a man of talents and much 
reading, who, as I once before observed, has mistaken aa 
intense desire of poetic reputation for a natural poetic 
genius ; the love of the arbitrary end for a possession of 
the peculiar means. But the .^ense of musical delight, 
with the power of producing it, is a gift of imagination ; 
and this, together with the power of j educing multitude 
into unity of effect, and modifjing a series of thoughts by 
some one predominant thought or feeling, may be culti- 
rated and improved, but can never be learnt. It is in 
these that " Poeta nascitur non fit." 

2. A second promise of genius is the choice of subjects 
very remote from the private interests and circumstan- 
ces of the writer himself. At least I have found, that 
where the subject is taken immediately from the author's 
personal sensations and experiences, the exc' Hence of a 
particular poem is but an equivocal maik, and often a 
fallacious pledge, of genuine poetic power. We may, 
perhaps, remember the tale of the statuary, who had ac- 
quired considerable reputation for the lej^s of his god- 
desses, though the rest of the statue accorded but indiffe- 
rently with ideal beauty, till his wife, elated by her hus- 
band's praises, modestly acknowledged, that she herself 
had been his constant model. In the Venus and Adonis, 
this proof of poetic power exists even to excess. It is 
throughout as if a superior spirit, more intuitive, more 
intimately conscious, even than the characters them- 
selves, not only of every outward look and act, but of 
the flux and reflux of the mind in all its subtlest thoughts 
and feelings, were placing thejvhole before our view ; 
himself, meanwhile, un participating in the passions, and 
actuated only by that pleasurable excitement, which had 
resfjklted from the energetic fervor of his own spirit in so 
vividly exhibiting what it had so accurately and profound- 
ly contemplated. I think I should have conjectured 
from these poems, that even then the great instinct, which 
impelled the poet to the drama, was secretly workinq; in 
him, prompting him by a series and never-broken chain 


of imagery, always vivid and because unbroken, oflen 
minute ; by the highest effort of the picturesque in 
words, of which words are capable, higher, perhaps, than 
w^as ever realized by any other poet, even Dante not 
excepted ; to provide a substitute for that visual lan- 
guage, that constant intervention and running comment, 
by tone, look and gesture, which in his dramatic works 
he was entitled to expect from the players. His '* Ve- 
nus and Adonis" seem at once the characters themselves, 
and the whole representation of those characters by the 
most consummate actors. You seem to be told nothing, 
but to see and hear every thing. Hence it is, that from 
the perpetual activity of attention required on the part of 
the reader ; from the rapid flow, the quick change, and 
the playful nature of the thoughts and images ; and, above 
all, from the alienation, and, if I may hazard such an ex- 
pression, the utter aloofness of the poet's own feelings, 
from those of which he is at once the painter and the 
analyst ; that though the very subject cannot but detract 
from the pleasure of a delicate mind, yet never was 
poem less dangerous on a moral account. Instead of 
doing as Ariosto, and as, still more offensively, Wieland 
has done ; instead of degrading and deforming passion into 
appetite, the trials of love into the struggles of concupis- 
cence, Shakespeare has here represented the animal 
impulse itself, so as to preclude all sympathy with it, by 
dissipating the reader's notice among the thousand out- 
ward images, and now beautiful, now fanciful circumstan- 
ces, which form its dresses and its scenery ; or by di- 
verting our attention from the main subject by those fre- 
quent witty or profound reflections, which the poet's 
ever active mind has deduced from, or connected 
with, the imagery and the incidents. The reader is 
forced into too much action to sympathize with the 
merely passive of our nature. As little can a mind thus 
roused and awakened be brooded on by mean and indis- 
tinct emotion, as the low, lazy mist can creep upon the 
surface of a lake, while a strong gale is driving it onward 
in waves and billows. 

3. It has been before observed, that images, however 
beautiful, though faithfully copied from nature, and as 
accurately represeated in words, do not of themselves 
characterize the poet. They become proofs of original 


s^enius ouly, as far as they are moiJtlied by a predomi- 
nant passion ; or by associated thoughts or images awa- 
kened by that passion ; or, when they have the effect 
of reducing multitude to unity, or succession to an in- 
stant ; or, lastly, when a human and intellectual life is 
transferred to them from the poet's own spirit, 

** Which shoots its being* through earth, sea, and air." 

In the two following lines, for instance, there is nothing 
objectionable, nothing which would preclude them from 
forming, in their proper place, part of a descriptive 
poem : 

** Behold yon row of pines, that, shorn and bow'd, 
Bend from the sea-blast, seen at twilight eve." 

But with the small alteration of rhythm, the same words 
would be equally in their place in a book of topography, 
or in a descriptive tour. The same image will rise in- 
to a semblance of poetry if thus conveyed ; 

*^ Yon row of bleak and visionary pines. 
By twiiig-ht-glimpse discerned, mark ! how they flee 
From the fierce sea-blast, all their tresses wild 
Streaming before them." 

I have given this as an illustration, by no means as an 
"instance, of that particular excellence which I had in 
view, and in which Shakspeare, even in his earliest, as 
in his latest works, surpasses all other poets. It is by 
this, that he still gives a dignity and a passion to the ob- 
jects which he presents. Unaided by any previous ex- 
citement, they burst upon us at once in life and in 

** Full many a glorious morning have I seen 
Flatter the mountain tops with sovereign eye.*^ 

Shakspeaie's Sonnet 33rd. 

" Not mine own fears, nor the prophetic soul 
Of the wide world dreaming on things to come — 

The mortal moon hath her eclipse endur'd. 


And the sad augurs mock their own presag-e ; 

Incertainties now crown themselves assur'd, 

And peace proclaims olives of endless ag^e. 

2Vow with the drops of this most balmy time 

My Love looks fresh : and Death to me subscribes* 

Since spite of him, I'll live in this poor rhyme. 

While he insults o'er dull and speechless tribes. 

And thou in this shalt find thy monument, 

When tyrant's crests, and tombs of brass are spent. 

Sonnet lor. 

As of higher worth, so doubtless still more character- 
istic of poetic genius does the imagery become, when it 
moulds and colours itself to the circumstances, passion, 
or character, present and foremost in the mind. For 
unrivalled instances of this excellence, rhe reader's own 
memory will refer him to the Lear, Othello, in short, 
to which not of the ^^ great, ever living, dead mail's''' dra- 
matic works ? Inopem me copia fecit. How true it is 
to nature, he has himself finely expressed in the instance 
of love in Sonnet 98. 

** From you have I been absent in the spring, : 

When proud pied April, drest in all its trim. 

Hath put a spirit of youth in every thing*; 

That heavy Saturn laugh'd and leap'd with him. 

Yet nor the lays of birds, nor the sweet smell 

Oi different flowers in odour and in hue, 

Could make me any summer's story tell, 

Or from their proud lap phick them, where they. grew ? 

iVor did I wonder at the lilies white. 

Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose ; 

They were, tho' sweet, but figures of delight, 

Drawn after you, you pattern of all those. 

Yet seemM it winter still, and you away, 

As with your shadow I with these did filay I 

Scarcely less sure, or if a less valuable, not less in- 
dispensable mark 

Fovi^« ptv IT0ITIT8- 

-ccriJ jnpta ycvvaiovAaxoi, 

Will the imagery supply, when, with jnore than the pow- 
er of the painter, the poet gives us the liveliest image 
of succession with the feehng of simultaneousness 1 


With this he breaketli from the sweet embrace 
Of those fair aims, tliat held him to her heart. 
And homeward throug-h the dark lawns runs apace : 
Look hoin a br':ght star shooteth from the sky ! 
So glides he through the night from Venus' eye, 

4. The last character I shall mention, which would 
prove indeed but little, except as taken conjointly with 
the former ; yet, without which the former could scarce 
exist in a high degree, and (even if this were possible) 
would give promises only of transitory flashes and a me- 
teoric power, is depth, and energy of thought. No 
man was ever yet a great poet, without being at the 
same time a profound philosopher. For poetry is the 
blossom and the fragrancy of all human knowledge, hu- 
man thoughts, human passions, emotions, language. In 
Shakspeare's |}0€m5, the creative power, and the intellec- 
tual energy wrestle as in a war embrace. Each in its 
excess of strength seems lo threaten the extinction of the 
other. At length, in the drama they were reconciled, 
and fought each with its shield before the breast of the 
other. Or, like two rapid streams, that at their first 
meeting within narrow and rocky banks, mutually strive 
to repel each other, and intermix reluctantly and in tu- 
mult ; but soon finding a wider channel and more yield- 
ing shores, blend, and dilate, and flow on in one current 
and with one voice. The Venus and Adonis did not, 
perhaps, allow the display of the deeper passions. But 
the story of Lucretia seems to favour, and even demand 
their intensest workings. And yet we find in Shakspeare^s 
management of the tale neither pathos, nor any other 
dramatic quality. There is the same minute and faith- 
ful imagery as in the former poem, in the same vivid 
colours, inspirited by the same impetuous vigour of 
thought, and diverging and contracting with the same ac- 
tivity of the assimilative and of the modifying faculties ; 
and with a yet larger displiy, a yet wider range of know- 
ledge and reflection ; and, lastly, with the same perfect 
dominion, often domination^ over the whole world of 
language. What then shall we say ? even this ; that 
Shakspeare, no mere child of nature ; no automaton of 
genius ; no passive vehicle of inspiration possessed by 
the spirit, not possessing it ; first studied patiently, me- 
ditated deeply, understood minutely, uU koQwledge, be- 


come habitual and intuitive, wedded itself to his habitual 
feehngs, and at length gave birth to that stupendous pow- 
er, by which he stands alone, with no equal or second 
in his own class ; to that power, which seated him on 
one of the two glory-smitten summits of the poetic moun- 
tain, with Milton as his compeer, not rival. While the 
former darts himself forth, and passes into all the forms 
of human character and passion, the one Proteus of tlje 
fire and the flood ; the other attracts all forms and things 
to himself, into the unity of his own ideal. All things 
and modes of action shape themselves anew in the being 
of Milton ; while Shakspeare becomes all things, yet 
for ever remaining himself. O what great men hast thou 
not produced, England ! my country ! truly indeed — 

Must we be free or die, who speak the tongue, 
Which Shakspeare spake ; the faith and morals hold, 
Which Milton held. In every thing we are spruDg 
Of earth's first bloodj have titles manifold ! 





Striking points of dijference between the Poets of the present 
age and those of the \5th and \6ih centuries — Wish ex- 
pressed for the union of the characteristic merits of both, 

Christendom, from its first settlement on feudal rights^ 
has been so far one great body, however imperfectly 
organized, that a similar spirit will be found in each pe- 
riod to have been acting in all its members. The study 
of Shakspeare's poems (I do not include his dramatic 
U'orks, eminently as they too deserve that title) led me 
to a more careful examination of the contemporary poets 
both in this and in other countries. But my attention 
was especially fixed on those of Italy, from the birth to 
the death of Shakspeare ; that being the country in 
which the fine arts had been most sedulously, and, hi- 
therto, most successfully cultivated. Abstracted from the 
degrees and peculiarities of individual genius, the pro- 
perties common to the good writers of each period seem 
to establish one striking point of difference between the 
poetry of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and that 
of the present age. The remark may, perhaps, be ex- 
tended to the sister art of painting. At least, the latter 
will serve to illustrate the former. In the present age, 
&\e poet (I would wish to be understood as speaking ge- 
nerally, and without allusion to individual names) seems 
to propose to himself as his main object, and as that 
which is the most characteristic of his art, new and 
striking images, with incidents that interest the affec- 
tions or excite the curiosity. Both his characters and 
his descriptions he renders, as much as possible, spe- 
cific and individual, even to a degree of portraiture. In 
his diction and metre, on the other hand, he is compa- 
ratively careles?. The measure is either constructed on 
no previous system, and acknowledges no justifying prin- 
ciple but that of the writer's convenience ; or else some 
mechanical movement is adopted, of which one couplet 
or stanza is so far an adequate specimen, as that the oc- 
casional differences appear evidently to arise from acci- 
dent, or the cj^ualities of the language itself, not from me- 


ditation and an intelligent purpose. And the language 
from " Pope's translation of Homer," to *' Darwin's Tem- 
ple of Nature," may, notwithstanding some illustrious 
exceptions, be too faithtV.lly characterized, as claiming 
to be poetical for no better reason, than that it would be 
intolerable in conversation or in prose. Though alas ! 
even our prose writings, nay, even the stile of our more 
set discourses, strive to be in the fashion, and trick them- 
selves out in the soiled and over-worn finery of the me- 
retricious muse. It is true, that of late a great improve- 
ment in this respect is observable in our most popular 
writers. But it is equally true, that this recurrence to 
plain sense, and genuine mother English, is far from be- 
ing general ; and that the composition of our novels, 
magazines, public harangues, &c- is commonly as trivial 
in thought, and enigmatic in expression, as if Echo and 
Sphinx had laid their heads together to construct it. 
Nay, even of those who have most rescued themselves 
from this contagion, I should plead inwardly guilty to 
the charge of duplicity or cowardice, if I withheld my 
conviction, that fev/ have guarded the purity of their na- 
tive tongue with that jealous care which the sublime 
Dante, in his tract '* De la nobile volgare eloquenza," 
declares to be the first duty of a poet. For language is 
the armoury of the human mind ; and at once contains 
the trophies of its past, and the weapons of its future 
conquests. '' Animadverte, quam sit ab improprietate 
verborum pronum hominibus prolabi in errores circa 
res !" HoBBES : Exam, et Exmend, hod. Math. — " Sat 
vero, in hac vitae brevitate et naturae obscuritate, rerum 
est, quibus cognoscendis tempus impendatur, ut confusis 
et multivocis sermonibus intelligendis illud consumere 
Hon opus est. Eheu ! quantas strages paravere verba 
nubila, quae tot dicunt, ut nihil dicunt — nubes potius, e 
quibus et in rebus politicis et in ecclesia turbines et 
tonitrua erumpunt ! Et proinde recte dictum putamus a 

Platone in Gorgia : oj av to ovojiaTa fi^ei, iccrai xa» ra iT^a<y\iaia : et 

ab Epicteto, ctpxn ai<5£uo'fcoj n wv ovo^iartovfTrio-xsAlu : et pruden- 

tissime GalenuS SCribit, ^ twv ovojiaTCov xpricns rrapax^ficra xairnv tcov 

frpa7pLaTcovf7riTopaT7£i 7VC0O-1V Egregie vero J. C Scali'ier, in 
Lib. 1. de Plantis : Est priinum, inqbit, sapientis officiurriy 
bene sentire, nt sibi vivat : proximiini^ bene loquiy ut pa^ 
tri(£ vivat,''^ Sennertus de Puis: Di/ferentid* 


Something analogous to the materials and structure of 
modern poetry 1 seem to have noticed (but here 1 beg to 
be understood as speaking with tlie utmost diflidence) in 
our common landsca^ a painters. Their foregrounds and 
intermediate distances are comparatively unattractive : 
while the main interest of the landscape is thrown into 
the back ground, where mountains and torrents and cas- 
tles forbid the eye to proceed, and nothing tempts it to 
trace its way back again. But in the works of the great 
Italian and Flemish masters, the front and middle objects 
of the landscape are the most obvious and determinate, 
the interest gradually dies away in the back ground, 
and the charm and peculiar worth of the picture consists, 
not so much in the specific objects whica it conveys to 
the understanding in a visual language formed by the 
substitution of figures for words ^ as in the beauty and har- 
mony of the colours, lines, and expression, with which the 
objects are represented. Hence novelty of subject was 
rather avoided than soug^ht for. Superior excellence, in 
the manner of treating the same subjects, was the trial 
and test of the artist's merit. 

Not otherwise is it with the more polished poets of the 
15th and 16th century, especially with those of Italy. 
The imagery is almost always general : sun, moon, flow- 
ers, breezes, murmuring streams, warbhng songsters, de- 
licious shades, lovely damsels, cruel as fair, nymphs^ 
naiads, and goddesses, are the materials which are coift- 
mon to all, and which each shaped and arranged accord- 
ing to his judgment or fancy, little solicitous to add or 
to particularize. If we make an honourable exception in 
favour of some Enghsh poets, the thoughts too are as 
little novel as the images ; and the fable of their narra- 
tive poems, for the most part draw^n from mythology, or 
sources of equal notoriety, derive their chief attractions 
from their manner of treating them ; from impassioned 
ilow, or picturesque arrangement. In opposition to the 
present a^^e, and perhaps in as faulty an extreme, they 
placed the essence of poetry in the art. The excellence 
at whicii they aimed consisted in the exquisite polish of 
the diction, coiiibined with perfect simplicity. This their 
prime object, th^y attained by the avoidance of every word 
which a gentlemar, would ttot use in dignified conversation, 
and of every word and phrase, wliich none but sl learned 


itian would use ; by the studied position of words and 
phrases, so that not only each part should be melodious^ 
in itself, but contribute to the harmony of the whole, 
each note referring and conducing to the melody of all 
the foregoing and following words of the same period or 
stanza ; and, lastly, with equal labour, the greater because 
unbetrayed, by the variation and various harmonies of 
their metrical movement. Their measures, however, 
were not indebted for their variety to the introduction 
of new metres, such as have been attempted of late in 
the *' Alonzo and Imogen," and others borrowed from the 
German, having in their very mechanism a specific over- 
powering tune, to which the generous reader humours 
his voice and emphasis, with more indulgence to the au- 
thor than attention to the meaning or quantity of the 
words ; but which to an ear familiar with the numerous 
sounds of the Greek and Roman poets, has an effect not 
unlike that of galloping over a paved road in a German 
stage-waggon without springs. On the contrary, our el- 
der bards both of Italy and England produced a far greater, 
as well as more charming variety, by countless modifica- 
tions, and subtle balances of sound, in the common metres 
of their country. A lasting and enviable reputation 
awaits the man of genius, who should attempt and realize 
a union ; who should recall the high finish ; the appro- 
priateness ; the faciUty ; the delicate proportion ; and, 
above all, the perfusive and omnipresent grace, which 
have preserved, as in a shrine of precious amber, the 
" Sparrow" of Catullus, the '' Swallow," the *' Grasshop- 
per," and all the other little loves of Anacreon : and 
which with bright, though diminished glories, revisited 
the youth and early manhood of christian Europe, in the 
Vales of Arno,*^ and the groves of Isis and of Cam ; and 

* These thoughts were sug-gested to me during- the perusal of the Ma- 
drigals of Giovambati-ta Str-zzi, published in Florence (nella Stamperia 
d(-l Sermartelh) 1st May, 1593, by his sons Lorenzo and f'ilippo Strozzi, 
with a dedication to their deceased patc^rnal unch^ '' Siirnor Leone Strozzi, 
Generale delle battaligie di Santa Chiesa/* As i do not remember to have 
seen either the poems^jr their author mentioned in any English U'ork, or 
have found them in any of the common collections of Itiuian poetry, and 
as (lie little work is of rare oc cur;e/u e, I will transcribe a few specimens. 
I have seldom nri with : ompositio*is that possessed, to my feelings, 
more of that satisfying entireness, that complete adequateness of the man- 
ner to the matter which so chai-ms us in Anaceron, iolned with the ten- 
derness, and more than the delicacy of Catullus. Trilles as tl ev are, they 
were proouoly elaborated with great cart ', yet in the perusiil we refer 


who with these should combine the keener interest, 
deeper pathos, manlier reflection, and the fresher and 

them to a spontaneous enerprv rather than to voluntary effort. To a cul- 
tivated taste there i^ a delifrht in perfeclinn for its own sake, independent 
of the material in which it is nnanifestcd, that none but a cultivated taste 
can iindersfand or appreciate. 

After vv hat 1 have advanced, it would appear pre&umption fo offer a 
translHiion ; even if the attempt was not discourag:ed by the different 
genius of the Enjrlish mind and lanpruaofe, which demands a denser body 
of thought as the condition of a high polish, than the Italian. I cannot 
but deem it likewise an advantage in the Italian tongue, in many other 
respects inferior to our own, that the language of poetry is more distinct 
from that of prose than with us. From the earlier appearance and esta- 
blished primacy of the Tuscan poets, concurrinji; with the number of in- 
dependent states, and the diversity of written dialects, the Italians have 
gamed a poetic idiom, as the Greeks before them had obtained from the 
same causes, with greater and more various discrimiaations — ex. gr. the 
ionic for their heroic verses ; the attic for their iambic ; Vii\d the two 
modes of the doric, the lyric or sacerdotal, and the pastoral, the distinc- 
tions of which were doubtless more obvious to the Greeks themselves 
than they are to us. 

I will venture to add one other observation before I proceed to the 
transcription. I am aware, that the sentiments which I have avowed con- 
cerning the points of diilerence between the poetry of tlie jiresent age, 
and that of the period between 1,500 and 1650, are the reverse of the 
opinion commonly entertained. I was conversing on this subject with a 
friend, when the servant, a worthy and sensible vvoman, coming in, I 
placed before her two engravings, 'the one a pinky-coloured plate of the 
day, the other a masterly etching by Salvator Kosa, from one of his owa 
pictures. On pressing her to tell us, which she preferred, after a little 
blushing and flutter of feelinof, she replied — why, that Sir! to be sure ? 
(pointinsr to the ware, from the Fleet-street print shops) It's so n«a<andele- 
g-ant. T'other is such a 5fro/rA^ slovenly thing." An artist, whose wri- 
tings are scarcely less valuable than his works, and to whose authority 
more deference will be wiilinglv paid-, than I could even wish should be 
shown to mine, has told us, and from his own experience too, that good 
taste must be acquired, and like all other good things, is the result of 
thought, and thp subrriissive study of the best models. If it be asked^ 
" But what shall 1 deem such ?" the answer is : presume these to be the 
best, the repututiMi of which has been matured into/a/we by the consent of 
ages. For wisdom ahva\ s has a final majority, if not by conviction, yet 
by acquiescence. In addition to Sir J. Reynolds, I may mention Harris 
©f Salisbury, who in one of his philosophical disquisitions, has writlcn on. 
the means of^accpiiring a just taste with ttie precision of Aristotle, aad tlifr 
elegance of Quintiilian. 


Gelido sno ruscel chiaro, e tranquillo 
IVrinseg^no Amor, di state a mezzo'l griorno : 
Ardaen ie selve, ardeao le piagg-e, e i colli. 
Ond 'io, cb' al piu gran gieloardo e sfaviiio, 
Subito corsi ; ma si puro adorno 
Girsene il vidi, cheturbar no'l volli ; 
Sol mi specchiava, e'n dolce ombrosa sponda 
JVii stava inteato al mormorar deir onda. 


more various imagery, which give a value and a name 
that will not pass away to the poets who have done ho- 


Anre dell' an^oscioso viver mio 

Refrig-erio soave, 

E dolce si, che piu noa mi par grave 

Ne'l arder, ne'I morir, anz' ii; 

Deh voiMghiaccio, e le nubi, e'l tempo rio 

Digcacciateue omai, che I'onde chiara, 

E 1' ombra non men cara 

A sceerzare, e cantar per suoi boschetti 

E prati Festa ed Allegrezza alletti. 


Pacifiche, ma spesso in amorosa 

Guerra co'fiori, el' erba 

Alia stagione acerba 

Verde Insegne del g'ig'lio e della rosa 

Movete, Aure. pian pian : che tregna o posa>, 

Se non pace, io ritrove; 

E so ben dove — Oh vag-o, mansueto 

Sguardo, oh labbrad'ambrosia, oh rider lieto! 


Hor come un Scog^lio stassi, 

IHor come un Rio se'n fug-^e 

Ed hor crud' Orsa rugge, 

Horcanta Angelo pio : ma che non fassi ? 

E che non fammi, O Sassi, 

O Rivi, o belve, o Dii, questa mia vaga 

Non so, se Niofa, o Mag-a, 

Non so, se Donna, o Dea, 

Non so, se dolce 6 rear* 


Piang-endo mi baciaste, 
E ridendo il neg-aste : 
Indoglia hebbivi pia, 
In festa hebbivi ria : 
Nacque Gioia di pianti, 
Dolor di riso : O amanti 
Miseri, habbiate iusierniB 
OffnorPaurae Speme- 


Dour to our own times, and to those of our immediate 


Bel Fior, tu mi rimembri 

La riigiadosa g^uancia del bel vise ; 

E si vera I'assembri, 

Che'n te sovente, come in lei m'affiso : 

Ed hor dell vago riso, 

Hor dell sereno s^^uardo 

lo purcieco risg-uardo. Ma qual fugge, 

O Rosa, il maltin lieve ? 

E chi te, come neve, 

E'l raio cor teco, e la mia vita strugge. i 


Anna mia, Anna dolce, oh sempre nuovo 

E pin chiaro conceoto. 

Quanta dolcezza sento 

In sol Ant^a dicendo? lomi par pruovo, 

Ne qui tra noi ritruo\:o, 

jVe tra cieli armonia, 

Cbe del bel nome suo piu dolce sia : 

Altro il Cielo, altro Amore, 

Altro non suona i'Eco del mio core. 


Horche'l prato, e la selva si scolora, 

Al tuo Sereno ombroso 

Muovine, alto Riposo ! 

Deh ch 'io riopsi una sol notte, un bora ! 

Han le fere, e gh augelli, ognun talora 

Ha qualcbe pace ; io quando, 

Lasso ! non vonne errando, 

E non piango, enon grido? equal pur forte f 

Ma poiche non sente egli, odine, Morte i 


Risi e piansi d'Amor ; ne per6 mai 

Se non in fiamma, 6 'n onda, 6 'n vento scrissi ; 

Spesso merce trovai 

Crudel ; sempre in me morto, in altri vissi ! 

Hor da' piu scuri abyssi al Ciel m'alzai, 

Hor ne pur caddi giuso : 

Stanco al fin qui son chiuso ! 


Examination of the tenets peculiar to Mr Wordswofih-^ 
Rustic life {above all^ low and rustic life,) especially 
unfavourable to the formation of a human diction — The 
best parts of language the product of philosophers^ not 
clowns or shepherds — Poetry essentially ideal and gene- 
ric — The language of Milton as much the language of 
real life, yea^ incomparably more so than that of the 

As far, then, as Mr. Wordsworth in bis preface contend- 
ed, and most ablj contended, for a reformation in our po- 
etic diction, as far as he has evinced the truth of passion, 
and the dramatic propriety of those figures and meta- 
phors in the original poets, which, stript of their justifying 
reason*, and converted into mere artitices of connexion 
or ornament, constitute the characteristic falsity in the 
poetic style of the moderns ; and, as far as he has, with 
equal acuteness and clearness, pointed out the process in 
which this change was effected, and the resemblances be- 
tween that state into which the reader's mind is thrown 
by the plea.^urable confusion of thought, from an unac- 
customed train of words and images ; and that state which 
is induced by the natural language of empassioned feel- 
ing ; he undertook a useful task, and deserves all praise, 
both for the attempt, and for the execution. The provo- 
cations to this remonstrance, in behalf of truth and nature, 
were still of perpetual recurrence, before, and after the 
publication of this preface I cannot, likewise, but add, 
that the comparison of such poems of merit, as have been 
given to the public, within the last ten or twelve years, 
with the majority of those produced previously to the 
appearance of that preface, leave no doubt on my mind, 
that Mr Wordsworth is fully justified in believing bis ef 
forts to have been by no means ineffectual. Not only 
in the verses of those who have professed their admira- 
tion of his eenius, but even of those who have distinguish- 
ed themselves by hostility to his theory, and dcpreciatioD 

Vol. II. 3 

26 ^ 

of his writings, are the impressions of his principles plain- 
\y visible It is possible, that with these principles others 
jnay have been blended, which are not equally evident ; 
and some which are unsteady and subvertible from the 
narrowness or imperfection of their basis. But it is more 
than possible, that these errors of defect or exaggeration^ 
by kindling and feeding the controversy, may have con- 
duced, not only to the wider propagation of the accompa- 
nying truths, but that, by their frequent presentation to 
the mind in an excited state, they may have won for them 
^a more permanent and practical result A man will bor- 
row a part from his opponent, the more easily, if he feels 
himself justified in continuing to reject a part. While 
there remain important points, in which he can still feel 
himself in the right, in which he still finds firm footing for 
continued resistance, he will gradually adopt those opi- 
nions which were the least remote from his own convic- 
tions, as not less congruous with his own theory than with 
that which he reprobates. In like manner, with a kind 
ef instinctive prudence, he will abandon by little and lit- 
tle his weakest posts, till at length he seems to forget that 
they had ever belonged to him, or affects to consider them 
at most, as accidental and '' petty annexments," the re- 
moval of which leaves the citadel unhurt and unendau- 

My own differences, from certain supposed parts of Mr. 
Wordsworth's theory, ground themselves on the assump- 
tion, that his words had been rightly interpreted, as pur- 
porting that the proper diction for poetry in general con- 
sists altogether in a language taken, with due exceptions, 
from the mouths of men in real life, a language which 
actually constitutes the natural conversation of nitn under 
the influence of natural feelings. My objection is, first, 
that in an?/ sense this rule is applicable only to certain 
classes of poetry ; secondly, that even to these classes it 
is not applicable, except in such a sense, as hath never, 
by any one, (as far as \ know or have read,) been denied 
or doubted ; and, lastly, that as far as, and in that degree 
in which it \s j^racficable ; yet asari//e it is useless, if not 
injurious, and therefore, either need not, or ought not to 
be practised. The poet informs his reader, that he had 
generally chosen loii' and rustic life ; but not as low and 
rustic^ or in order to repeat that pleasure of doubtful mo* 


ral e^ect, which persons of elevated rank, anrl of supe? 
rior refinement oftentimes derive from a happy imitation, 
oi the rude unpolished manners, and discourse of their 
inferiors. For the pleasure so derived may be traced to 
three exciting causes. The first is the naturalness, in/act^ 
of the things represented The second is the apparent 
naturalness of the representation, as raised and qualified 
by an imperceptible infusion of the author's own know* 
]ed<^e and talent, which infusion does, indeed, constitute 
it an imitation as distinguished from a mere copy. The 
third cause may be found in the reader's conscious feel- 
ing of his superiority, awakened by the contrast ,)resent- 
ed to him ; even as, for the same purpose, the kings and 
great barons of yore retained sometimes actual clowna 
and fools, but mere frequently shrewd and witty fellows 
in that character. These, however, were not Mr. Woids- 
worth's objects. He chose low and rustic life, " because 
in that condition, the essential passions of the heart find 
a better soil, in which they caa attain their maturity, are 
less under restraint, and speak a plainer and more em- 
phatic language ; because in that condition of life, our 
elementary feelings co-exist in a state of greater simpli- 
city, and, consequently, maybe more accurately contem- 
plated, and more forcibly communicated ; because the 
manners of rural life germinate from those elementary 
feelings, and, from the necessary character of rural oc- 
cupations, are more easily comprehended, and are more 
durable ; and, lastly, because, in that condition the pas- 
sions of men are incorporated with the beautiful and 
permanent forms of nature." 

Now it is clear to me, that in the most interesting of 
the poems, in which the author is more or less dramatic, 
as the '' Brothers," '' Michael," *^ Ruth," the '^ Mad 
Mother," &c. the persons introduced are by no means 
taken /ro7/i low or rustic life in the common acceptation 
of those words ; and it is not less clear, that the senti- 
ments and language, as far as they can be conceived to 
have been really transferred from the minds and conver- 
sation of such persons, are attributable to causes and cir^ 
cumstaHces not necessarily connected with '* their occu- 
pations and abode." The thoughts^ leelings, language, 
and manners of the shepherd-farmers in the vales oi Cum- 

•berlancl and Westmoreland, as far as they are actually 
adopted in those poems, may be accounted for from 
causes which will, and do produce the same results in 
every state of lifC; whether in town or country. As the 
two principal 1 rank that fndependfnce, which raises a 
man above servitude, or daily toil, for the profit of others, 
yet not above the necessity of industry, and a frugal sim- 
plicity of domestic life ; and fhe accompanying unam- 
bitious, but solid and religious education, which ha.^ ren- 
dered (ew books familiar but the bible, and the liturgy 
or hymn book. To this latter cause, indeed, which is s6 
far accidental., that it is the blessing of particular coun- 
tries, and a particular age, not the product of particular 
places or employments, the poet owes the show of proba- 
bility, that his personages might really feel, think, and 
talk, with any tolerable resemblance to his representation. 
It is an excellent remark of Dr. Henry More's (! ntbu- 
siasmus triumphatus, sec xxxv.) that '' a man of confined 
education, but of good parts, by constant reading of the 
bible, wiii naturally form a more w^inning and command- 
ing rhetoric than those that are learned; the intermixture 
of tongues and of artificial phrases debasing their style/' 
It is, moreover, to be considered, ibat to the lormation 
of healthy feelings, and a reflecting mind, negations in- 
volve impediments, not less fornjidable than sophistica- 
tion and vicious intermixture. 1 am convinced, that for 
the human soul to prosper in rustic life, a certain van- 
tage-ground is- pre-requisite. It is not every man that 
is likely to be improved by a country life, or by country 
labours. Education, or original sensibility, or both, must 
pre-exist, if the ch.^nges, forms, and incidents of nature 
are to prove a sufficient stimulant. And where these are 
not sufi&cient, the mind contracts and hardens by want of 
Stimulants ; and the man becomes selfish, sensual, gross, 
and hard-hearted Let the management of the f'ooR 
Law^s in Liverpool, Manchester, or Bristol, be compared 
with the ordinary dispensation of the poor rates in agri- 
cultural villages, where the farmers are the overseers 
and guardians of the poor. If my own experience have 
not been particularly unfortunate, as well as that of the 
many respectable country clergymen, with whom I have 
conversed on the subject, the result would engender 
more than scepticism, concerning the desirable influen- 


ces of low and rustic life in and for itself. WbateVev 
may be concluded on the other side, from the stronger 
local attachments and enterprizing spirit of the Swiss, 
and other mountaineers, appHes to a particular mode of 
pastoral life, under forms of property, that permit and 
beget manners truly republican, not to rustic life in gene- 
ral, or to the absence of artificial cultivation. On the 
contrary, the mountaineers, whose manners have beei> 
so often eulogized, are, in general, better educated, and 
greater readers than men of equal rank elsewhere. But 
where this is not the case, as among the peasantry of 
North Wales, the ancient mountains, with all their ter- 
rors and all their glories, are pictures to the blind, and 
music to the djeaf. 

I should not have entered so much into detail upon thiis 
passage, but, here seems to be tbe point to which all the 
lines of difference converge as to their source and centre. (I 
mean, as far as, and in whatever respect, my poetic creed 
does differ from the doctrines promulged in this preface.) 
1 adopt, with full faith, the principle of Aristotle, that 
poetry, as poetry, is essentially ideal^^ that it avoids and 
excludes all accident j' that its apparent individualities of 

* Say not that I am recommending abstractions, for these class-charac* 
teristicsx, which constitute the instructiveness of a character, are so mo- 
dified and parti culariz«=^^d in each person of the Shaksperian Drama, that 
life itself does not excite more distmctly that sense of individuality which 
beionacs to real existence. Paradoxical as it may somid, one of the es- 
sential properties of geonry^try is not less essential to dramatic excellence ; 
and Aristotle has, according-ly, required of the poet an involution of the 
universal in the individual. Tlie chief differences are, that in geometrijr 
it is the universal truth which is uppermost in the consciousness ; in po- 
etry the individual form, in which the truth is clothed. With the an- 
cients, and not less with the elder drcim-atists of England and France, 
both comedy and tragedy were considered as kinds of poetry. They 
neither sought, in comedy, to make us laugh merrily; much less to make 
us laugh by wry faces, accidents of jargon, slang phrases for the day, or 
the clothing of common-place morals in metaphors drawn from the shops^ 
or mechanic occupations of their characters. Nor did they condescend, 
in tragedy, to wheedle away the applause of the spectators, by represent- 
ing before them fac-similies of their own mean selves in all their existing 
meanness, or to work on their sluggish sympathies by a pathos not a whit 
more respectable than the maudlin tears of drunkenness. Their tragic 
scenes were meant to dff^d us indeed ; but yet within the bounds of" 
pleasure, and in union with the activity both of our understanding and 
imagination. They wished to transport the mind to a sense of its possi- 
ble greatness, and to implant the germs of that greatness, during the 
tt^mporary oblivion of the worthless "thing we are," and of the peculiar 
state in which each man happens to be, suspending our individual recollec- , 
tiG»s, and luUinf them to sleep amid the music of nobler thoughts. 

Friind, Pages 251,2^% 



rank, character, or occupation, must be representative of 
a class ; and that the persons of poetry must be clothed 
with generic attributes, with the common attributes of the 
class ; not with such as one gifted individual might pos' 
sibly possess, but such as iro'u his situation, it is most 
probable before-hand, that he would possess. l( my 
premises are righ% and my deductions legitimate, it fol- 
lows that there can be no poetic medium between the 
swains of Theocritus and those of an imaginary golden 

The characters of the vicar and the shepherd mariner, 
in the poem of the " Brothers," those of the shepherd 
of Green head Gill in the *' Michael," have all the veri- 
similitude and representative quality that the purposes of 
poetry can require. They are persons of a known and 
abiding class, and their manners and sentiments the natu- 
ral product of circumstances common to the class. Take 
** Michael," for instance : 

An old man stout of heart, and strong of limb ; 

His bodily frome had been from youth to ag-e 

Of an unusual strength : his mind was keen, 

Intense and frugal, apt for all affairs, 

And in his shepherd's calling he was prompt 

And watchful more than ordinary men. 

Hence, he had learnt the meaning of all winds, 

Of blasts of every tone, and oftentimes 

When others heeded not, he heard the south 

Make subterraneous music, like the noise 

Of bagpipers on distant highland hills. 

The shepherd, at such warning, cf his flock 

Bethought him, and he to himself wou](] say, 

The winds are now devising work for me ! 

And truly at all times the storm, that drives 

The traveller to a shelter, summoned him 

Up to the mountains. He had been alone 

Amid the heart of many thousatid mists. 

That came to him and led him on the heights. 

So liv'd he, till his eightieth year was pa'^s'd. 

And grossly that man errs, who should suppose 

That the green valleys, and the streams and rocks^ 

"Were things indifferent to the sheplierds thoughts. 

Fields, where with cheerful sj^irits he had breath'd 

Tii2 common air ; the hills which he so oft 

Had climb'd with vigorous steps ; which had impress'^ 

So maoy incidents upon his mind 


Of hardship, skill, or courage, joy or fear: 

Which, like a book, preserved tlie memory 

Of the dumb animals wliom he had sav'd. 

Had fed, or shelter'd, Jinking- to such ads, 

So grateful in themselves, the certainty 

Of honourable g-ains ; these fields, these hills, 

Which were his living being", even more 

Than his own blood'— what coukl they less ? — had laid 

Strong- hold on his ain^ctions— were to him 

A pleasurable feelinc^ of blind love, 

The pleasure which there is in life itself. 

On the other hand, in the poems which are pitched a 
a lowernote as the " Harry Gi-ll," '- Idiot Bov," &c., 
the feelings are tfiose of human nature in general, though 
the poet has judiciously laid the scene in the country, in 
order to place himself \n the vicinity of interesting ima- 
2;es, without the necessity of ascribing a sentimental per- 
ception of their beauty to the persons of his drama In 
the '* Idiot Boy," indeed, the mothers character is not 
so much a real and native product of a •' situation where 
the essential passions of the heart find a better scdl, in 
which they can attain their maturity, and speak a plainer 
and more emphatic language." as it is an impersonation 
of an instinct abandonment by judgment Hence, the 
two following charges seem to me not wholly groundless ; 
at least, they are the only plausible o])jections which I 
have heard to that fine poem The one is, that the au- 
thor has not, in the poem itself, taken sufficient care to 
preclude from the reader's fancy the disgusting images of 
crdlnary^ morbid idiocy, which yet it was by no means 
his intention to represent. He has even by the '' burr, 
burr, burr," uncounteracted by any preceding descrip- 
tion of the boy's beauty, assisted in recalling them. The 
other is, that the idiocy of the hoy is so evenly balanced 
by the folly of the mother^ as to present to the general 
reader rather a laughable burlesque on the l)lindness of 
anile dotage, than an analytic display of maternal afFec* 
tion in its ordinary workings. 

In the *' Thorn," the poet himself acknowledges, in a 
note, the necessity of an introductory poem, in which he 
should have portrayed the character of the person from 
whom the words of the poem are supposed to proceed : 
a superstitious man; moderately imaginative^ of slow fa- 


cultles, and deep feelings ; '' a captain of a sir.all trading, 
vessel, for example, who, being past the middle age of 
life, had retired upon an annuity, or small independent 
income, to some village or country town, of which he 
was not a native, or in which he had not been accustom- 
ed to live. Such men, havms; nothing to do, become cre- 
dulous and talkative from indolence." Bui in a poem, 
still more in a lyric poem, (and the nursk in Shakspeare's 
Ixomeo and Juliet alone prevents me from extending the 
remark even to dramatic jioc/r?/, if indeed the Nurse it- 
self can be deemed altogether a case in point,) it is not 
possible to imitate truly a dull and garrulous cliscourser, 
without repeating the effects of dullness and garrulity. 
However this may be, I dare assert, that the parts, (and 
these form the far larger portion of the whole,) which might 
as well, or still better, have- proceeded from the poet's 
own imagination, and have been spoken in his own cha- 
racter, are those which have given, and which will con- 
tinue to give, universal delight ; and that the passages 
exclusively appropriate lo the supposed narrator, such as 
the last couplet of the third stanza ;* the seven last lines 
of the tenth ;t and the five following stanzas, with th« 

* " I've measured it from side to side ; 
'Tis three feet long-, and two feet wide.'* 

f " Nay, rack your brain — 'tis all in vain, 9 

I'll tell you every thing 1 know ; * 

But to the Thorn, and to the Pond, 
Which is a little step beyond, 
I wish that you would go: 
Perhaps, when you are at the place^ 
You something of her tale may trace, 

V\\ give you the best help lean : 

Before you up the mountain go, 

ITp to the dreary mountain-lop, 

ril tell you all I know. 

^Tis now some two-and-twenty years 

Since she, (her name is Martha Ray,). 

Gave, with a maiden's true good will. 

Her company to Stephen Hill ; 

And she v/as blithe and gay, ''' 

And she was happy, happy still, 

Wheae'er she thought of Stephen HilE- 


exception of (he four admirable lines at the commence- 
ment of tlie fourteenth, are felt by many unprejudiced 
and unsophisticated hearts, as sudden and unpleasant 
sinkings from the height to which the poet had previously 
lifted them, and to which he again re-elevates both him- 
self and his reader. 

And the}^ had fix'd the wedding-day, 
7'ie morning- that must wed them both; 
But Stephen to another maid 
Had gwora another oath ; 
And with this other rriaid to church 
Unthinking Stephen went — 
Poor Martha ! on that woful day 
A pang of pitiless dismay 
Into her soul was sent ; 
A fire was kindled in her breast, 
Which might not burn itself to rest. 

They say, full six months after this, 
"While yet the summer leaves were greens- 
She to the mountain top would go, 
And there was often seen. 
'Tis said a child was in her womb, 
As now to any eye was plain; 
She was with child, and she was mad ; 
Yet often she was sober sad 
From her exceeding pain. 
Oh me! ten thousand rimes I'd rather 
That he had died, that cruel father! 


Last Christmas, when we talked of this. 
Old fanner Siirspson did maintain. 
That in tier womh the infant wrought 
About its mother's lieart, and brought 
Her senses back again : 
And when at last her time drew near, 
Her looks were calm, her senses clear* 

No more I know, 1 wish I did, s ~ 

And I would tell it all to you ; ' 

For what became of this poor child 

There's none that ever knew : 


If then I am compelled to doubt the theory by which ,1 
the choice of characters was to be directed not only a 
ptnori, from grounds of reason, but both from the few 
instances in which the poet himself need be supposed to 
have been governed by it, and from the comparative in- 
feriority of those instances ; still more must I hesitate in 
my assent to the sentence which immediately follows 
Ihe former citation ; and which i can neithc;r admit as 
particular fact, or as general rule. " The language, too, 
of these men is adopted, (purified, indeed, from what ap- 
pears to be its real defects from all lasting and rational 
causes of dislike or disgust,) because such men hourly 
communicate with the best objects from which the best 
part of language is originally derived ; and because, 
from their rank in society, and the sameness and nar- 
row circle of their intercourse, being less under the action 
of social vanity, they convey their feelings and notions in 
simpleand unelaboratedexpressions. Tothisi reply, that 
a rustic's language, purified from all provincialism and 
grossness, and so far re-constructed as to be made con- 
sistent with the rules of grammar, (which are. in essence, 
no other than he laws of universal logic applied to Psy- 
chological materials,) will not differ from the language 
of any other man of common sense, however learned or 
refined he may be, except as far as the notions which 
the rustic has to convey are fewer and more indiscrimi- 
nate. This will become still clearer if we add the con- 
sideration, equally important, though less obvious,) that 
the rustic, from the more imperfect development of his 
faculties, and from the lower state of their cultivation, 
aims almost solely to convey insulated facts ^ either those 
of bis scanty experience or his traditional belief; while 
the educated man chiefly seeks to discover and express 
those connections of things, or those relative bearings of 
fact to fact, from which some more or less general law 

And if a child was born or no. 
There's no one that could ever tell; 
And if 'twas born alive or dead. 
There's no one knovvs, as I have said ; 
But soiiie remember well, 
That Martl-.a Rav, about this time 
Would up the mountaia often clirnb.'' 


is (leducible. For facts are valuable to a wise maiii^ 
chiefly as they lead to the discovery of the in-dvveliing 
law, which is the true being of things, the sole solution 
of their modes of existence, and in the knowledge of 
which consists our dignity and our power. 

As little can I agree with the assertion, that from the 
objects with which the rustic hourly communicates, the 
best part of language is formed Fox, first, if to couimu- 
nicate willi an object implies such an acquaintance with it, 
as renders it capable of being discriminately reflected on ; 
the distinct knowledge of an uneducated rustic would 
furnish a very scanty vocabuiar}^ I'he few things, and 
modes of action, requisite for his bodily conveniences^ 
would alone be individualized, while all the rest of na- 
ture would be expressed by a small number of confused, 
general terms. Secondly, 1 den}^ that the words, and com- 
binations of words derived from the objects, with which 
the rustic is fmnlinr, whether with distinct or confused 
knowledge, can be justly said to form the best part of 
language. It is more than probable, that man}^ classes of 
the brute creation possess discriminating sounds, by which 
they can convey to each other notices of such objects as 
concern their food, shelter, or safety. Yet we hesitate 
to call the aggregate of such sounds a language, otherwise 
than metaphorically. The best part of liuman language, 
properly so called, is derived from reflection on the acts of 
the mind itself It is formed by a voluntary appropriation of 
fixed symbols to internal acts, to processes and results of 
imagination, the greater part of which have no place in the 
consciousness of uneducated man ; though, in civilized so- 
ciety, by imitation and passive remembrance of what they 
hear from their reli<4ious instructors and other superiors^ 
the most uneducated share in the harvest, v/hich they nei- 
ther sowed or reaped. If the history of the phrases in hour- 
ly currency among our peasants were traced, a person not 
previously aware of the fact would be surprized at find- 
ing so large a number, w^hich, three or four centuries ago, 
were the exclusive property of the universities and the 
schools ; and, at the commencement of the Reformation, 
had been transferred from the school to the pulpit, and 
thus gradually passed into common life. The extreme 
difficulty, and often the impossibility, of finding words for 
the simplest moral and intellectual processes in the la»- 


guas;Gs of uncivilized tribes has proved, perhaps, the 
weightiest obstacle to the progress of our most zealous 
and adroit missionaries. Yet these tribes are surrounded 
hy the same nature, as our peasants are ; but in still 
more impressive forms ; and they are, moreover, oblig- 
ed to particularize many more of them. When, there- 
fore, Mr. Wordsworth adds, " accordingly, such a lan- 
guage," (meaning, as before, the language of rustic liife, 
purified from provincialism,) " arising out of repeated 
experience and regular feelings, is a more permanent, 
and a far more piiilosophical language, than that Avhich 
is frequently substituted for it by poets, who think thej 
are conferring honour upon themselves and their art, in 
proportion as they indiilge in .arbitrary and capricious 
habits of expression ;" it ma}'- be answered, that the lan- 
guage which he has in view can be attributed to rustics 
with no greater right than the style of Hooker or Bacon 
to Tom Brown or Sir Roger L'Estrange. Doubtless, 
if what is pecuHar to each were omitted in each, the re- 
sult must needs be the same. Further, that the poet, 
who uses an illogical diction, or a style fitted to excite 
only the low and changeable plea-ure of wonder, by 
means of groundless noveltjs substitutes a language of fol- 
ly and vanity, not for that of the rustic, but for that of 
good sense and natural feeling. 

Here let be permitted to remind the reader, that the 
positions, which I controvert, are contained in the senten- 
ces — '' a selection of the real language of men ;" — '' the lan- 
guage of these men, (i. e. men in low and rustic life,) 1 pro- 
pose to mysef to imitate, and, as far as possible, to adopt the 
very language of men ^"^ ^' Between the language of prose 
and thai f metrical composition, there neither is, nor can be, 
any essential di^erence.''' It is against these exclusively, 
that my opposition is directed. 

I object, in the very first instance, to an equivocation iti 
the use of the word " real." Every man's langua:;e va- 
ries according to the extent of his knowledge, the activity 
of his faculties, and the depth or quickness of his feelings. 
Every man's language has, first, its individiwlities ; se- 
condly, the common properties of the class to which he 
belongs ; atid thirdly, word? and phrases of umver3ct( use. 
The languM^e of Hooker, Bacon, Bishop Taylor, and 
Burke, differ from the common language of the learned 


tl(\S3 only by the superior luiinber and novelty of the 
thoughts and relations which they had to convey. The 
language of Algernon Sidney differs not at all from that 
v/hich every well educated gentleman would wish to write, . 
and (with due allowances for the undeliberateness*, and 
less connected train, of thinking natural and proper to 
conversation,) such he would wish to talk. Neither one 
or the other differ half as much from the general lan- 
guage of cultivated society, as the language of Mr. Words- 
worth's homliest composition differs from that of a com- 
mon peasant. For ** real," therefore, we must substi^ 
tute ordinary or lingua communis. And this, we have 
proved, is no more to be found in the phraseology of 
low and rustic life, than in that of any other class. Omit 
the peculiarities of each, and the result, of course, must be 
common to all. And, assuredly, the omissions and chan- 
ges to be made in the language of rustics, before it could 
be transferred to any species of poem, except the drama 
or other professed imitation, are at least as numerous and 
weighty as would be required in adapting to the same 
purpose the ordinary language of tradesmen and manu- 
facturers. Not to mention, that the language so highly 
extolled by Mr. Wordsworth varies in every county, 
nay, in every village, according to the accidental charac- 
ter of the clergyman ; the existence or non-existence of 
schools ; or even, perhaps, as the exciseman, publican, 
or barber happen to be, or not to be, zealous politicians, 
and readers of the v/eekly newspaper pro bono publico. 
Anterior to cultivation the lingua communis of every 
country, as Dante has well observed, exists every where 
in parts, and no where as a whole. 

Neither is the case rendered at all more tenable by the 
addition of the words, '* in a state of exciteraent.^'^ For 
the nature of a man's words, when he is strongly affected 
by joy, grief, or anger, must necessarily depend on the 
number and quality of the general truths, conceptions, 
and images, and of the words expressing them, with 
which his mind has been previously stored. For the 
property of passion is not to create ; but to set in in- 
creased activity. At least, whatever new connections of 
thoughts or images, or (which is equally, if not more 
than equally, the appropriate effect of strong excitement) 
Vol; U. 4 


whatever generalizations of truth or experience the heat 
of passion may produce, yet, the terms of their con- 
veyance must have pre-existed in his former conversa- 
tions, and are only collected and crowded together by 
the unusual stimulation. It is, indeed, very possible to 
adopt in a poem the unmeaning repetitions, habitual 
phrases, and other blank counters, which an unfurnished 
or confused understanding interposes at short intervals, 
in order to keep hold of his subject, which is still slipping 
from him, and to give him time for recollection ; or, in 
mere aid of vacancy, as in the scanty companies of a 
country stage, the same player pops backwards and for- 
wards, in order to prevent the appearance of empty 
spaces in the procession of Macbeth, or Henry Vlllth. 
But what assistance to the poet, or ornament to the poem, 
these can supply, I am at a loss to conjecture. Nothing, 
assuredly, can differ either in origin or in mode more 
widely from the apparent tautologies of intense and tur- 
bulent feeling, in which the passion is greater, and of 
longer endurance, than to be exhausted or satisfied by a 
single representation of the image or incident exciting it. 
Such repetitions I admit to be a beauty of the highest 
kind, as illustrated by Mr. Wordsworth himself from 
the song of Deborah. *' At her feet he bowed, he fell, he 
lay down; at her feet he bowed, he fell; where he bozved, 
there he fell down dead J "^ 



Language of metrical composition, why and wherein es- 
- sentially dif event from that of prose — Origin and ele- 
ments of metre — Its necessary consequences, and the con- 
ditions thereby imposed an the metrical writer in the 
choice of his diction, 

T conclude, therefore, that the attempt is impractica- 
ble ; and that, were it not impracticable, it would still 
be iiseless. For the very power of making the selection 
implies the previous possession of the language selected. 
Or where can the poet have lived ? And by what rules 
could he direcHlis chaice, which would not have ena- 
bled him to select and arrange his words by the light of 
his own judgment ? We do not adopt the language of 
a class by the mere adoption of such words exclusively, 
as that class would use, or at least understand ; bat, 
likewise, by following the order in which the words of 
such men are wont to succeed each other. Now. this 
order, ia the intercourse of uneducated men. is distin- 
guished from the diction of their superiors in knowledge 
and power, by the greater disjunction and separation in 
the component parts of that, whatever it be, which they 
wish to communicate. There is a want of that prospec- 
tiveness of mind, that surview\ which enables a man to 
foresee the whole of what he is to convey, appertaining 
to any one point ; and, by this means, so to subordinate 
and arrange the different parts according to their rela- 
tive importance, as to convey it at once, and as an organ- 
ized whole. 

Now i will take the first stanza, on which I have 
chanced to open, in the Lyrical Ballads. It is one of the 
most simple and the least peculiar in its language^ 

** In distant countries I have been. 
And yet I have not often seen 
A healthy man, a man full grown, 
Weep in the public road alone. 


Cut sucl) a one, on Eng-lisb ground, 
And in the broad highway 1 met ; 
Along the broad highway he came, 
His cheeks with tear? were wet. 
Sturdy he seein'd, though he ^v'as sad, 
And in his arms a lamb he had." 

The words here are doubtless such as are current in 
all ranks of life ; and, of course, not less so, in the ham- 
let and cottage, than in the shop, manufactory, college, 
or palace. But is this the order in which the rustic 
would have placed the words ? 1 am grievously deceiv- 
ed, if the following less compact mode of commencing the 
;game tale be not a flir more faithful copy. " 1 have been 
in a many parts far and near, and 1 don't know thati 
ever saw before a man crying by himself in the |>ublic 
road ; a grown man I mean, that was neither sick nor- 
hurt," ^c. &:c. But when I turn to the following stanza 
la **The Thorn-.'' 

*' At all times of the day and night 
This wretched womian thither goes, 
And she is known to every star 
And every wind that blows : 
And there beside the thorn she sits. 
When the blue day-light's in the skies;' 
And when the whirlwind's on the hiH, 
Or frosty air is keen and still ; 
And to herself she cries. 
Oh nTiisery ! Oh misery ! 
Oh wo is me J Oh misery !*' 

And compare this with the language of ordinary men ; 
or with that which I can conceive at all likely to pro- 
ceed, in real life, from such a narrator, as is supposed in 
the note to the poem ; compare it either in the succes- 
sion of the images or of the sentences, I am reminded of 
the sublime prayer and hymn of praise, which Milton, 
in opposition to an estabhshed liturgy, presents as a fair 
"specimen of common extemy)orary devotion, and such as 
we might expect to hear from every self-inspired minis- 
ter of a conventicle ! And I reflect with delight, how 
little a mere theory, though of his own workmanship, 
interferes with the processes of genuine imagination in a 


man of true poetic genius, who possesses, as Mr. Words- 
worth, if ever man did, most assuredly does possess, 

**The Vision and the Faculty divine." 

One point, then, alone remains, but that the most im- 
portant ; its examination having been, Indeed, my chief 
inducement for the preceding inquisition* " There nei- 
ther is or can he any essential dijfererice between the Ian* 
guage of prose arid metrical composition,''^ Such is Mr. 
Wordsworth's assertion. Now, prose itself, at least, in 
all argumentative and consecutive works, differs, and 
ought to differ, from the language of conversation ; even 
as reading ought to differ from talking.* Unless, there- 
fore, the difference denied be that of the mere words^- 
as materials common to all styles of writing, and not of 
the style itself in the universally admitted sense of the 
term, it might be naturally presumed that there must 
exist a still greater between the ordonnance of poetic 
composition and that of prose, than is expected to dis- 
tinguish prose from ordinary conversation.- 

There are not, indeed, examples wanting in the histo- 
ry of literature, of apparent paradoxes that have sum- 
moned the public wonder, as new and startling truths, 

*It is no less an error in teachers, than a torment to the poor children, 
to inforce the necessity of reading- as they would talk. In order to cure 
them of singings as it is called ; that is, of too great a difference. The 
child is made to repeat the words with his eyesfrom ofl' the book ; and, 
then indeed, liis tones resemble talking, as far as his fears, tears, and trem- 
bling* will permit. But, as soon as the eye is again directed to the printed 
page, ibo spelh begins anew ; for an instinctive sense tells the child's feel- 
ings, that to utter its own momentary tiioughts, and to recite the written 
thoughts of another, as of another, and a far wiser than himself, are twa 
widely different things ; and, as the two acts are accompanied with wide-* 
iv different feelings, so must they justify different modes of enunciation. 
Joseph Lancaster, among his other sophistications of the excellent Dr. 
i^elPs invaluable system, cures this fault of 5ir^o^r7g, by hanging fetters 
and cha ns on the c.bild, to the music of which one of his school fellow-? 
who walks before, dolefully chaunts out the child's last speech and con- 
fes!!^ion, birth, parentage, and education. And this soul-benumbing igno-i 
miny, this unholy and heart-hardening burlesque on the last fearful in- 
fliction of outraged law, in pronouncing the sentence, to which the stern 
^nd iarniliari^ed judge not seldom bursts into tears, has been extolled as 
a happy and ingenious method of remedying — what.'' and how? — why 
one extreme in order to introduce another, scarce less distant from good 
sense, and certainly likely to have worse moral effects, by enforciiig a 
semblance of petulant ease and self-sufficiency, in repression, and possi- 
ble after-per /ersion of the natural feelings, fhave to beg Dr Bell's par- 
don for this connexion of the two names, but he knows that contrast is no 
>esr powerful a cause of association than likeness. 


but which, on examination, have shrunk nito tame and 
harmless truisms ; as the eyes of a cat, seen in the dark, 
have been mistaken for flames of fire. But Mr. Words- 
worth is among the last men, to whom a delusion of this 
kind would be attributed by any one who had enjoyed 
the slightest opportunity of understanding his mind and 
character. Whjere an objection has been anticipated by- 
such an author as natural, his answer to it must needs 
be interpreted in some sense, which either is, or has been, 
or is capable of being, controverted. My object iheix 
must be to discover some other meaning for the term 
*' essential difference^'' in this place, exclusive of the in- 
distinction and community of the words themselves. For 
whether there ought to exist a class of words in the 
English, in any degree resembling the poetic dialect of 
the Greek and Italian, is a question of very subordinate 
importance. The number of such words would be small 
indeed, in our language, and even in the Italian and 
Greek ; they consist not so much of different words, as 
of slight differences in the /orms of declining and conju- 
gating the same words ; forms, doubtless, which having 
been, at some period more or less remote, the common 
grammatic flexions of some tribe or province, had been 
accidentally appropriated to poetry by the general ad- 
miration of certain master intellects, the first established 
lights of inspiration, to whom that dialect happened to 
be native. 

Essence, in its primary signification, means the prin- 
ciple of individuation^ the inmost principle of the possi- 
bility of any thing, as that particular thing. It is equi- 
volant to the idea of a thing, whenever we use the word 
idea with philosophic precision. Existence, on the 
other hand, is distinguished from essence, by the super- 
induction oi reality. Thus we speak of the essence, and 
essential properties of a circle ; but we do not there*- 
fore assert, that any thing which really exists, is mathe- 
matically circular. Thus, too, without any tautology, we 
contend for the existence of the Supreme Being ; that is, 
for a reality correspondent to the idea. There is, next, 
a secondary use of the word essence, in which it signifies 
the point or ground of contra-distinction between two 
modifications of the same substance or subject. Thus 
we should be allowed to say, that the stjle of architect- 


ure of Westminister Abbey is essentially difterent from 
that of Saint Paul, even though both had been built with 
blocks cut into the same form, and from the same quar- 
ry. Only in this latter sense of the term must it have 
been denied by Mr. Wordsworth (for in this sense alone 
is it affirmed by the general opinion) that the language 
of poetry (i. e. the formal construction, or architecture 
of the words and phrases) is essentially different from that 
of prose. Now the burthen of the proof lies with the 
oppugner, not with the supporters of the common belief. 
Mr. Wordsworth, in consequence, assigns, as the proof 
of his position, "•' that not only the language of a large 
portion of every good poem, even of the most elevated 
character, must necessarily, except with reference to 
the metre,*in no respect differ from that of good prose ; 
but, likewise, that some of the most interesting parts of 
the best poems will be found to he strictly the language 
of prose, wh.en prose is well written. The truth of this 
assertion might be demonstrated by innumerable passa- 
ges from almost all the poetical writings even of Miltoa 
himself." He then quotes Gray's sonnet — 

*' In vain to me the smihog" morninf^s shine. 
And reddening Phoebus bfts his golden fire ; 
The birds in vain their amorous descant joins 
Or cheerful fields resume their gi cen attire ; 
These ears, alas ! for other notes repine ; 
A different object do these eyes require ; 
My lonely anguish melts no heart but mine^ 
And in my breast the imperfect joys expire ! 
Yet morning smiles, the bu$y race to cheer, 
And new-born pleasure brings to happier men : 
The fields to all their wonted tributes bear. 
To warm their little loves the birds complain. 
1 fruitless mourn to him that cannot hear. 
And loeep the more, because I v:eep in vain ;" 

and adds the following remark ^ — '' It will easily be per- 
ceived, that the only part of this Sonnet which is of any 
vakie, is the lines printed in italics. It is equally obvi- 
ous, that except in the rhyme, and in the use of the 
single word ''fruitless" for fruitlessly, which is so far 
a defect, the language of these lines does in no respeqt 
differ from that of prose." 


An idealist defending his system by the fact, that wheu 
asleep we often beheve ourselves awake, was well an- 
swered by his plain neighbour, " Ah, but when awake 
do we ever believe ourselves asleep ?" — Things identi- 
cal must be convertible. The preceding passage seems 
to rest on a similar sophism. For the question is not, 
whether there may not occur in prose an order of words, 
which would be equally proper in a poem ; nor whether 
there are not beautiful lines and sentences of frequent 
occurrence in gv3od poems, which would be equally be- 
coming, as well as beautiful, in good prose ; for neither 
the one or the other has ever been either denied ^ 
doubted by any one. The true question must be, whether 
there are not modes of expression, a constrnctiGn, diDd iin 
order of sentences, which are in their fit and natural 
place in a serious prose composition, but would be dis- 
proportionate and heterogeneous in metrical poetry ; 
and, vice versa, whether in the language of a serious 
poem there may not be an arrangement both of wordi^ 
and sentences, and a use and selection of (what are call- 
ed) figures of speech, both as to their kind, their frequen- 
cy, and their occasions, which, on a subject of equal 
weight, would be vicious and alien in correct and manly 
prose. I contend, that in both cases, this unfitness of 
each for the place of the other frequently will and ought 
to exist. 

"And, first, from the origin of metre. This I would 
trace to the balance in the mind efl'ected by that sponta- 
neous effort which strives to hold in check the working* 
of passion. It might be easily explained, likewise, in 
what manner this salutary antagonism is assisted by the 
very state which it counteracts, and how this balance of 
antagonists became organized into metre ^ (in the usual ac- 
ceptation of that term,) by a supervening act of the will 
and judgment, consciously, and for the foreseen purpose 
of pleasure. Assuming these principles, as the data of 
our argument, we deduce from them two legitimate con- 
ditions, which the critic is entitled to expect in every 
metrical work. First ; that as the chmcuis of metre owe 
their existence to a state of increased excitement, so the 
metre itself should be accompanied by the natural lan- 
guage of excitement. Secondly ; that as these elements 
are formed into metre artif daily, by a voluntary act, with 
the design, and for the purpose of blending delight Tvith 


emotion, so the traces of present ro^?7ion should, throiigli- 
out the metrical langua^^e, be proportionally discernible. 
Now, these two conditions must be reconciled and co- 
present. There must be, not only a partnership, but a 
union ; an interpenetration of passion and will, of 5/3o;ito- 
neous impulse and of voluntary purpose. Again ; this 
union can be manifested only in a frequency of forms 
and figures of speech, (ori«;inal!y the oiTspring of passion, 
but now the adopted children of power,) greater than 
would be desired or endured where the emotion is not 
voluntarily encouraged, and kept up for the sake of that 
pleasure which such emotion, so tempered and master- 
ed by the will, is found capable of communicating. It not 
only dictates, but of itself tends to produce a more fre- 
quent employment of picturesque and vivifying language, 
than would be natural in any other casein which there 
did not exist, as there" does in the present, a previous 
and well understood, though tacit, compact between the 
poet and his reader, that the latter is entitled to expect, 
and the former bound to supply this species and degree 
of pleasurable excitement. We may, m some measure, 
apply to this union, the answ^er of Polixenes, in the 
Winter's Tale, to Perdita's neglect of the streaked 
gilly-flowers, because she had heard it said, 

** There is an art which in their piedness shares. 
*' With great creating nature. 

Pol : Say there be : 
** Yet nature is made better by no mean, 
** But nature makes that mean. So cv'n that art, 
*' Which you say adds to nature, is an art 
" That nature makes ! You see, sweet maid, we marry 
" A gentler scyon to the wildest stock : 
*' And make conceive a bark of ruder kind 
** By bud of nobler race. This is an art, 
*' Which does mend nature — change it rather; but 
*' The art itself is nature.'' 

Secondly, I argue from the effects of metre. As far* 
as metre acts in and for itself, it tends to increase the vi- 
vacity 3nd susceptibility both of the general feelings and 
of the attention. This effect it produces by the continued 
excitement of surprise, and by the quick re.ciprocations 


erf curiosity, still gratified and sail re-excited, which are' 
loo slight, indeed, to be at any one moment objects of dis 
iinct consciousness, yet become considerable in their ag^ 
grcgatc inliuence. As a medicated atmosphere, or ai 
wine, during animated conversation, they act powerfully 
though themselves unnoticed. Where, therefore, cor- 
respondent food and appropriate matter are not provided 
for the attention and feelings, thus roused, there must 
needs be a disappointment felt; like that of leaping ir 
the dark from the last step of a stair-case, when we had 
prepared our muscles for a leap of three or four. 

The discussion on the powers of metre in the preface 
is hio'hly ingenious, and touches at all points on truth. 
But I cannot find any statement of its powers considered 
abstractly and separately. On the contrary, Mr. Words- 
worth seems always to estimate metre by the powers 
which it exerts during (and, as I think, in consequence of ) 
its combination with other elements of poetry. Thus, the 
previous difficulty is left unanswered, zi^hat the elements 
are with which it must be combined, in order to produce 
its own effects to any pleasurable purpose. Double and 
trisyllable rhymes, indeed, form a lower species of wit, 
and attended to, exclusively for their own sake, may be- 
come a source of momentary amusement ; as in poor 
Smart's distich to the Welch 'Squire, who had promised 
him a hare : 

*' Tell me, thou son of great Cadwallader ! 
Hast sent the hare ? or bast thou swallov»''d her ? 

But, for nny poetic purposes, metre resembles (if the 
aptness of the simile may excuse its meanness) yest, 
worthless or disagreeable by itself, but giving vivacity 
and spirit to the liquor with which it is proportionally 

The referrence to the *' Children of the Wood," by 
no means satisfies my judgment. We all willingly throw 
ourselves back for a while into the feelings of our child- 
hood. This ballad, therefore, we read under such 
recollections of our own childish feelings, as would equal- 
ly jendear to us poems which Mr. Wordsworth himself 
.n^ould regard as faulty in the opposite ej|reme of gaudT 

iiid technical oniaiiient, Before the invention of print- 
er, and in a still greater clegree, before the introduc- 
ion of writing, metre, especially alliterative metre, 
'whether nlliterative at the beginning of the words, as in 
■* Pierce Plouman," or at the end, as in rhymes,) possess- 
ed an independent value, as assisting the recollection, 
ind, consequently, the preservation of (vn?/ series of truths 
or incidents. But 1 am not convinced by the collation of 
^acts, that the " Children in the WoocV owes either its 
^reservation or its popularity to its metrical form. Mr. 
iVIarshai's repository affords a number of tales in prose 
nferior to pathos and general merit, some of as old a 
late, and many as widely popular. Tom Hickathrift, 
L\CK THE Giant-killer, Goody Two-shoes, and Little 
itED RiDiXG-HOOD, are formidable rivals. And that they 
lave continued in prose, cannot be fairly explained by 
he assumption, that the comparative meanness of their 
houghts and images precluded even the humblest forms 
A metre. The scene of Goody Tw^o-shoes in the 
:hurdi is perfectly susceptible of metrical narration ; 
ind among the (daoixaya B-avAasorara, even of the present age, 
do not recollect a more astonishing image than that of 
he " ii'holc rookery, that fiew out of the gianVs beard,''' 
icared by the tremendous voice with which this monster 
mswered the challenge of the heroic Tom Kicka- 

rHRIFT '! 

If from these we turn to compositions, universally and 
ndependently of all early associations, beloved and ad- 
nired, would the Maria, The Moick, or The Poor 
Man's Ass of Sterne, be read with more delight, or 
vdve a better chance of immortalit}^ had they, without 
my change in the diction, been composcKl in rhyme, 
ban in the present state ? If I am not grossly mistaken, 
.he general reply would be in the negative. Nay, I 
m\\ confess, that in Mr. Wordsworth's owm volumes, the 
\necdote for Fathers, Simon Lee, Alice Fell, The 
Beggars, and The Sailor's Mother, notwithstanding 
he beauties which are to be found in each of them, 
tvhere the poet interposes the music of his own thoughts, 
ivould have been more delightful to m^ in prose, told 
md managed, as by Mr. Wordsw^orth they would have 
been, in a moral essay, or pedestrian tour. 


I\]etre in ilself is sirnpl}^ a stimulant of the .attention, 
urn] therefore excites the question, Why is the atten- 
tion to be thus stimulated ? Now the question cannot be 
answered by the yjleasure of the metre itself; for thi^ 
we have shown to l)e conditional,, and dependent on the 
appropriateness of the thoughts and expressions, to 
which tlie metrical, form is superadded. Neither can I 
conceive any other ansv/er that can be rationally given, 
<hort of this : I write in metre, because I am about to 
use a lani^uai2;e diilerent from that of prose. Besides, 
where tlie language is not such, how interesting soever 
the reflections are that are capable of being drawn by 
a })hiIosophic mind from the thouglits or incidents of the 
poem, the n)etre itself must often become feeble. Take 
the three last stanzas of the Sailor's Mother, for in- 
stance. \t I could for a moment abstract from the effect 
produced on the author's feelings, as a man, by the inci- 
dent at tlie time of its real occurrence, I would dare ap- 
j)eal to his own judgment, whether in the metre itself he 
found a sulncient reason for their being written mCtri- 
.cally ? 

'- And thus continuing, she said 
1 had a son, who many a day 
Sailed on the seas; but he is dead; 
In Denmark he was cast away : 
And I have travelled far as Hall, to see 
What clothes he might have left, or other property. 

The bird and cage, they both were his ; 

'Twas my son's bird ; and neat and trim 

He kept it ; many voyages 

This singing bird hath gone with him : 

Wlien last he sailed he left the bird behind ; 

As it might be, perhaps, from bodings of his mind. 

He to a fellow-lodger's care 
Had left it, to be watched and fed, 
Till he came back again ; and there 
I f^)und it when my son was dead ; 
And now, God help me for my httle wit ! 
i trail it with me, Sir ! he took 30 much delight in it.'* 


If disproportioning the emphasis we read these stanzas 
so as to make the rhymes perceptible, even trisyllable 
rhymes could scarcely produce an equal sense of oddity 
and strangeness, as we feel here in finding rhymes at all 
in sentences so exclusively colloquial. I would further 
ask whether, but for that visionary state, into which the 
figure of the woman and the susceptibility of his own 
genius had placed the poet's imagination (a state, which 
spreads its influence and colouring over all that co-exists 
with the exciting cause, and in which 

** The simplest, and the most familiar things 

Gain a strange power of spreading awe around them ;"*) 

I would ask the poet whether he would not have felt 
an abrupt downfall in these verses from the preceding 
stanza ? 

*^ The ancient spirit is not dead ; 

Old times, thought I, are breathing there ! 

Proud was I, that my country bred 

Such strength, a dignity so fair ! 

She begged an alms, like one in poor estate ; 

I looked at her again, nor did my pride abate.*' 

It must not be omitted, and is, besides, worthy of no- 
tice, that those stanzas furnish the only fair instance that 
I have been able to discover in all Mr. Wordsworth's 
writings, of an actual adoption, or true imitation, of the 
real and very language of lom; and rustic life, freed from 

Thirdly ; 1 deduce the position from all the causes else- 
where assigned, which render metre the proper form of 
poetry, and poetry imperfect and defective without me- 
tre. Metre, therefore, having been connected with poetry 

* Altered from the description of Night-Mare in the Remorse: 

" Oh Heaven I 'twas frightful ! Now run-down and stared at^^ 

By hidious shapes that cannot be remembered; 

Now seeing nothing-, and ima^in^ nothing ; 

But only being afraid — f^tiflRed with fear I 

While every goodly or familiar form 

Had a strange power of spreading terror round me:'* 
N. B. Thongh Snakspeare has, for his own all-jwitifying purposes ia- 
troduc ed the iNigkt-^Uarc with her own foals, yet Mair means a lister, or 
periiaps a Hag, 

Vol. if. 5 


most often and by a peculiar fitness, whatever else is 
combined with metre must, though it be not itself essen- 
tia//?/ poetic, have nevertheless some property in common 
with poetry, as an intermedium of affinity, a sort (if I 
may dare borrow a well-known phrase from technical 
chemistry) of mordaiint between it and the superadded 
metre. Now, poetry, Mr. Wordsworth truly affirms, does 
always imply passion, which word must be here under- 
stood in its most general sense, as an excited state of the 
feelings and faculties. And as every passion has its pro- 
per pulse, so will it likewise have its characteristic modes 
of expression. But where there exists that degree of 
genius and talent which entitles a writer to aim at the 
honours of a poet, the very act of poetic composition 
itself is, and is allowed to imply and to produce, an unusu- 
al state of excitement, which, of course, justifies and de- 
mands a correspondent difference of language, as truly, 
though not perhaps in as marked a degree, as the ex- 
citement of love, fear, rage, or jealousy. The vividness 
of the descriptions or declamations in Donne, or Dryden, 
is as much and as often derived from the force and fervour 
of the describer, as from the reflections, forms, or inci- 
dents, which constitute their subject and materials. The 
wheels take fire from the mere rapidity of their motion. 
To what extent, and under what modifications, this may 
be admitted to act, I shall attempt to define in an after 
remark on Mr. Wordsworth's reply to this objection, or 
rather on his objection to this reply, as already anticipat- 
ed in his preface. 

Fourthly ; and as intimately connected with this, if not 
the same argument in a more general form, 1 adduce the 
high spiritual instinct of the human being, impelling us 
to seek unity by harmonious adjustment, and thus esta- 
blishing the principle, that all the parts of an organized 
whole must be assimilated to the more important and es- 
sential parts. This and the preceding arguments may be 
strengthened by the reflection, that the composition of a 
poem is among the Imitative arts, and that imitation, as 
opposed to copying, consists either in the interfusion of 
the SAME, throughout tiie radically different, or of the 
different throughout a base radically the same. 

Lasr^y : I appeal to the practice of the best poets of 
all countries sind in all ages, as authorizing the opinion^ 


[deduced from all the foregoing) that in every inaport of 
the word essential, which would not here involve a 
mere truism, there may be, is, and ought to be, an €sse?i'- 
tial difference between the language of prose and of 
metrical composition. 

In Mr. Wordsworth's criticism of Gray's Sonnet, the 
reader's sympathy with his praise or blame of the differ- 
ent parts is taken for granted, rather perhaps too easily. 
He has not, at least, attempted to win or compel it by 
argumentative analysis. In my conception, at least, the 
lines rejected, as of no value, do, with the exception of 
the two first, differ as much and as little from the lan- 
guage of common life as those which he has printed in 
italics, as possessing genuine excellence. Of the five 
lines thus honourably distinguished, two of them differ 
from prose even more widely than the lines which either 
precede or follow, in the position of the words : 

'* A different object do these eyes require ; 
My lonely anguish melts no heart but mine ; 
And in my breast the imperfect joys expireJ*^ 

But were it otherwise, what would this prove, but a 
truth, of which no man ever doubted ? videlicet, that 
there are sentences which would be equally in their 
place, both in verse and prose. Assuredly it does not 
prove the point, which alone requires proof, namely, 
that there are not passages which would suit the one, 
and not suit the other. The first hues of this sonnet is 
distinguished from the ordinary language of men by the 
epithet to morning. (For we will set aside, at present, 
the consideration that the particular word " smiling*'^ 
is hackneyed, and, (as it involves a sort of personifica- 
tion,) not quite congruous with the common and material 
attribute of shining,^ And, doubtless, this adjunction of 
epithets, for the purpose of additional description, where 
no particular attention is demanded for the quahty of the 
thing, would be noticed as giving a poetic cast to a man's 
conversation. Should the sportman exclaim, ** come 
boys ! the rosy morning calls you up,^^he will be suppos- 
ed to have some song in his head. But no one suspects 
this, when he says, " A wet morning shall not confine us 
to our beds." This then is either a defect in poetry, i>j? 


i,t 1s not. WhoeveF should decide in the affirmaiive, 
would request him to re-peruse any one poem, of any con| 
fessedJy great poet from Homer to Milton, or from Eschyj 
Jus to Shakspeare, and to strke out (in thought I rr.ean,1 
every instance of this kind. \{ the number of these fan-* 
cied erasures did not startle him, or if he continued to 
deem the work improved by their total omission, he must 
advance reasons of no ordinary strength and evidence — 
reasons grounded in the essence of human nature ; other- 
wise I should not hesitate to consider him as a man not 
so much proof against all authority, as dead to it. 
The second line, 

*' And reddening Phosbus lifts his golden fire.** 

has indeed almost as many faults as words. But then it 
is a bad line, not because the language is distinct from 
that of prose ; but because it conveys incongruous ima- 
g<;s, because it confounds the cause and the effect, the 
peal thing with the personified representative of the thing ; 
in short, because it diSers from the language of good 
SENSE ! That the ** Phcebus" is hacknied, and a school- 
boy image, is an accidental fault, dependent on the age in 
which the author wrote, and not deduced from the nature 
of the thing. That it is part of an exploded mythology, 
is an objection more deeply grounded. Yet when the 
torch of ancient learning was re-kindled, so cheering were 
its beams, that our eldest poets, cut off by Christianity 
from ail accredited machinery, and deprived of all ac- 
knowledged guardians and symbols of the great objects of 
nature, were naturally induced to adopt, as sl poetic lan- 
guage, those fabulous personages, those forms of the su- 
pernatural in nature,* which had given them such dear de- 
light in the poems of their great masters. Nay, even at 
this day, what scholar of genial taste will not so far sym- 
pathise with them, as to read with pleasure in Petrach, 
Chaucer, or Spenser, what he would perhaps condemn 
as puerile in a modern poet? 

* But still more by the mechanical system of philosophy which has 
fieedlessly infected otir theolog^ical opinions; and teaching" us to consider 
the world: in its relation to God, as of a building to its masoji, leaves the 
idea of oamipresence a mere abati-act notiea ki the state-room of o-^r 


I remember no poet whose writings would safelier 
stand the test of Mr. Wordsworth's theory, than Spknser. 
Yet will Mr. Wordsworth say, that the style of the fol- 
lowing stanzas is either undistinguished from prose, and 
the language of ordinary life ? Or, that it is vicious, and 
that the stanzas are blots in the Faery Queen ? 

" By this the northern wagg'oner had set 

His sevenfold teme behind the steadfast starre. 

That was in ocean waves yet never wet, 

But firm is fixtand sendeth lig-ht from farre 

To all that in the wild deep wandering are. 

And cheerful chanticleer with his note shrill 

Had warned once that Phoebus's fiery carre 

In haste was climbing up the eastern hill, 

Full envious that night so long his room did fill.*' 

Book /. Can. 2, St. £. 

** At last the golden orientall gate 

Of greatest heaven gan to open fay re. 

And Phoebus fresh as brydegrome to his mate, 

Came dauncing- forth, shaking his deawie hayre, 

And hurl'd his glist'ring" beams through gloomy ayre ; 

Which when the wakeful elfe perceived, streightway 

He started up, and did him selfe prepay re 

In sun-bright armes, and battailous array ; 

For with that pagan proud he combat will that day.'* 

J5. /. Can. 5, St. £. 

On the contrary, to how many passages, both in hymn 
books and in blank verse poems, could 1 (were it not in- 
vidious,) direct the reader's attention, the style of which 
is most unpoetic, because, and only because, it is the style 
€>f prose? lie will not suppose me capable of having in 
my mind such verses, as 

** I put my hat upon my head 
And walk'd into the strand ; 
And there I met another raan- 
Whose hat was in his hand." 

To such specimens it would indeed be a fair and full 
reply, that these lines are not bad, because they a»e un- 
£oetic : but because they are empty of all sense and^ 



f^elingc and that it were an idle attempt to prove thai 
an ape is not a Newton, when it i?i evident that he is not 
a man. But the sense shall be good and weighty, the 
language correct and dignified, the subject interesting 
and treated with feeling ; and yet the style shall, not- 
withstanding all these merits, be justly blamable as prO' 
saic, and solely because the words and the order of (he 
words would find their appropriate place in prose, but 
are not suitable to metrical composition. The '' Civil 
Wars" of Daniel is an instructive, and even interesting 
Work ; but take the following stanzas, (and from the hun- 
dred instances which abound I might probably have se- 
lected others far more striking.) 

** And to the end we may with better ease 
Discern the true discourse, vouchsafe to show 
What were the times foregoing near to these, 
That these we may with better profit know. 
Tell how the world fell into this disease ; 
And how so great disteraperature did grow; 
So shall we see with what degrees it came ; 
How things at full do soon wax out of frame.** 

•* Ten kings had from the Norman conqu'ror reign'd 
With intermixt and variable fate. 
When England to her greatest height attain'd 
Of power, dominion, g"lcry, wealth, and state ; 
After it had with nmch ado sustain'd 
The violence of princes with debate 
For titles, and the often mutinies 
Of nobles for their ancient liberties." 

•* For first the Norman, conqu'ring all by might. 
By might was forced to keep what he had got ; 
Mixing our customs and the form of right 
With foreign constitutions, he had brought ; 
Mastering the mighty, humbling- the poorer wight. 
By all severest means that could be wrought ; 
And making the succession doubtful rent 
llis new-got state and left it turbulent *' 

B, I. St VIL VIIL 4' IX, 

Will it be contended, on the one side, that these lines 
are mean and senseless ? Or on the other, that they are 
not prosaic, and for that reason unpoetic ? This poet's 
well -merited epithet is that of the *' well'languaged 

Daniel ;" but likewise, and by the consent of his contempo - 
raries no less than of all succeeding critics, the '' prosaic 
Daniel/' Yet those, who thus designate this wise and 
amiable writer from the frequent incorrespondency of 
his diction to his metre in the majority of his compositions, 
not only deem them valuable and interesting on other ac- 
counts, but willingly admit, that there are to be found 
throughout his poems, and especially in his Epistles and 
in his Hyjnen's Triumph, many and exquisite specimens 
of that style which, as the neutral ground of prose and 
-verse, is common to both. A fine, and almost faultless 
extract, eminent as for other beauties, so for its perfec- 
tion in this species of diction, may be seen in Lamb's 
Dramatic Specimens, &c. a work of various interests 
from the nature of the selections themselves (all from the 
plays of Shakspeare's contemporaries) and deriving a 
high additional value from the notes, which are full of 
just and original criticism, expressed with all the fresh- 
ness of originality. 

Among the possible effects of practical adherence to a 
theory, that aims to identify the style of prose and verse, 
(if it does, indeed, claim for the latter a yet nearer re- 
semblance to the average style of men in the viva voce 
intercourse of real life) we might anticipate the following, 
as not the least likely to occur. It will happen, as I 
have indeed before observed, that the metre itself, the 
sole acknowledged difference, will occasionally become 
metre to the eye only. The existence of prosaisms, and 
that they detract from the merit of a poem, must at 
length be conceded, when a number of successive lines 
can be rendered, even to the most delicate ear, unrecog- 
nizable as verse, or as having even been intended for 
verse, by simply transcribing them as prose ; when, if 
the poem be in blank verse, this can be effected without 
any alteration, or at most by merely restoring one or 
, two words to their proper places, from which they had 
been transplanted* for no assignable cause or reason, but 

* As the inpfenious gentleman, under the influence of the Tragic Muse 
contrived to dislocate, " I wish you a good morning-, Sir, ! Thank } ou, 
Sir, and I wish you the same,'" into two'blank- verse heroics : — 
To you a morning good, good Sir .' I \vish. 
You, Sir ! I thank : to you the same wish I. 
In those parts of Mr. Wordsworth's works, which 1 have thoroughlj 
■studied, I find fewer instances ia which this would be practicable than ^ 


that of the author's convenience ; but if it be in rhyme,, 
by the mere exchange of the final word of each hne for 
some other of the same meaning, equally appropriate, 
dignified and euphonic. 

The answer or objection in the preface to the antici- 
pated remark ''that metre paves the way to other dis- 
tinctions," is contained in the following words. '' The 
distinction of rhyme and metre is voluntary and uniform, 
and not like that produced by (what is called) poetic dic- 
tion, arbitrary, and subject to infinite caprices, upon which 
no calculation whatever can be made. In the one case 
the reader is utterly at the mercy of the poet respecting 
what imagery or diction he may choose to connect with 
the passion." But is this apoe^, of whom a poet is speak- 
ing ? No surely ! rather of a fool or madman ; or, at 
best, of a vain or ignorant phantast ! And might not brains 
so wild and so deficient make just the same havock with 
rhymes and metres, as they are supposed to effect with 
modes and figures of speech ? How is the reader at the 
mercy of such men ? If he continue to read their non- 
sense, is it not his own fault ? The ultimate end of criti- 
cism is much more to establish the principles of writing, 
than to furnish rules how to pass judgment on what has 
been written by others ; if indeed it were possible that 
the two could be separated. But if it be asked, by what 
principles the poet is to regulate his own style, if he do 
not adhere closely to the sort and order of words which 

have met in many poems, where an approximation of prose has been 
sedulously, and on system, guarded against. Indeed, excepting the stanzas 
already quoted from the Sailor^s Mother^ I can recollect but one instance ; 
viz. a short passage of four or five lines in The Brothers, that model of 
English pastoral, which I never yet read with unclouded eye. — " James, 
pointing to its summit, over which they had all purposfdto return together, 
informed them that he would wait for them there. They p. • ted, and hi« 
comrades passed that way some two hours after, but they did not find him 
at the appointed place, a circumstance of which they took no keed . but one 
of them going by chance into the house, which at this time was Jumes's 
house, learnt Mere, that nobody had seen him all that day.'* The only 
charge which has been made is in the position of the little word there in 
two instances, the position in the original being clearlj'^ such as is not 
adopted in ordinar)-- conversation. The other words printed in italics, 
were so marked because, though good and geiiiiine English, they are not 
the phraseology of common conversation eitiier in the word put in appo- 
sition, or in the connection by the genitive pronoun. Men in aeneral 
would have said, " but that was a circumstance they paid no attention to, 
or took no notice of," and the language is, on the theory of the preface, 
justified only by the narrator's being the Vicar. Yet if any ear coidd 
suspect, that these sentences were ever printed as metre, on those very 
nords aJone could the suspicion have been grounded. 


Be hears in the market, wake, high-road, or plough-field ? 
I reply ; by principles, the ignorance or neglect of which 
would convict him of being no poet, but a silly or pre-^ 
sumptuous usurper of the name I By the principles of 
grammar, logic, psychology ! In one word, by such a 
knowledge of the facts, material and spiritual, that most 
appertain to his art, as if it have been governed and ap- 
phed by good sense, and rendered instinctive by habit, 
becomes the representative and reward of our past con- 
scious reasonings, insights, and conclusions, and acquires 
the name of taste. By what rule that does not leave 
the reader at the poet's mercy, and the poet at his own, 
is the latter to distinguish between the language suitable 
to suppressed, and the language which is characteristic 
of indulged, anger ? Or between that of rage and that of 
jealousy ? Is it obtained by wandering about in search 
of angry or jealous people in uncultivated society, in 
order to copy their words ? Or not far rather by the 
power of imagination proceeding upon the all in each of 
human nature ? By meditation, rather than by observa- 
tion ? And by the latter in consequence only of the 
former ? As eyes, for which the former has pre-deter- 
mined their field of vision, and to which, as to its organ, 
it communicates a microscopic power ? There is not, I 
iirmly believe, a man now living, who has from his own 
inward experience a clearer intuition than Mr. Words- 
worth himself, that the last mentioned are the true sour- 
ces of genial discrimination. Through the same protess, 
and by the same creative agency, will the poet distin- 
guish the degree and kind of the excitement produced by 
the very act of poetic composition. As intuitively will 
he know, whatdifl'erences of style it at once inspires and 
justifies ; what intermixture of conscious volition is natu- 
ral to that state ; and in what instances such figures and 
colours of speech degenerate into mere creatures of an 
arbitrary purpose, cold technical artifices of ornament or 
connection. For even as truth is its own light and evi- 
denc/5, discovering at once itself and falsehood, so is it 
the prerogative of poetic genius to distinguish, by paren- 
tal instinct, its proper offspring from the changelings 
which the gnomes of vanity or the fairies of fashion may 
have laid in its cradle, or called by its names. Could a 
vule be given from unthout, poetry would cease to be 


poetry, and sink into a mechanical art. It would be 
jioy(j:<oaij not TToiTio-if. The rules of the imagination are 
themselves the very powers of growth and production. 
The words to which they are reducible present only the 
outlines and external appearance of the fruit. A decep- 
tive counterfeit of the superficial form and colors may be 
elaborated ; but the marble peach feels cold and heavy, 
and children only put it to their mouths. We find no 
difficulty in admitting as excellent, and the legitimate 
language of poetic fervor self-impassioned, Donne's 
apostrophe to the Sun in the second stanza of his '' Pro- 
gress of the Soul." 

" Thee, eye of heaven ! this great soul envies not ; 
By thy male force is all, we have, begot. 
In the first East thou now begin o'st to shine, 
Suck'st early balm and island spices there ; 
And wilt anon in thy loose-rein'd career 
At Tagus, Po, Seine, Thames, and Danow dine, 
And see at night this western world of mine : 
Yet hast thou not more nations seen than she, 
Who before thee one day began to be, 
And, thy frail light, being quenched, shall long, long out* 
live thee !" 

©r the next stanza but one ; 

** Great destiny, the commissary of God, 
That hast marked out a path and period 
For ev'ry thing ! Who, where we offspring took^ 
Our ways and ends see'st at one instant : thou 
Knot of all causes ! Thou, whose changeless brow 
Ne'er smiles or frowns ! O vouchsafe thou to look. 
And show my story in thy eternal book," &«. 

As little difficulty do we find in excluding from the 
honours of unajffected warmth and elevation the madness 
prepense of Pseudo-poesy, or the startling hysteric of 
weakness ever exerting itself, which bursts on the un- 
prepared reader in sundry odes and apostrophes to ab- 
stract terms. Such are the Odes to Jealousy, to Hope, 
to Oblivion, and the like in Dodsley's collection and the 
magazines of that day, which seldom fail to remind me 
of an Oxford copy of verse* on the two Suttons, com- 
mencing with 

"' Inoculation, heavenly maid ! descend !" 



It is \)0t to be denied that men of undoubted talents/ 
and even poets of true, though not of first r.*>te genius, 
have, from a mistaken theory, deluded both themselves 
and others in the opposite extreme. I once read to a 
company of sensible and well-educated women the in- 
troductory period of Cowley's preface to his ''Pindaric 
Odes, written in imitation of the style and manner of the 
odes ef Pindar,"" " If (says Cowley) a man should un- 
dertake to translate Pindar, word for word, it would be 
thought that one madman had translated another ; as 
may appear, when he, that understands not the or^ji'^^^* 
reads the verbal traduction of him into Latin prose, than 
which nothing seems more raving." I then proceeded 
with his own free version of the second Olympic, com- 
posed for the charitable purpose of rationalizing the 
Theban Eagle. 

" Queen of all harmonious things, 

DanciDg" words and speaking strings. 

What God, what hero, wilt thou sing ? 

What happy man to equal glories bring? 

Begin, begin thy noble choice. 

And let the hills around reflect the image of thy voice* 

Pisa does to Jove belong, 

Jove and Pisa claim thy song. 

The fair first-fruits of war, th' Olympic games, 

Alcides offer'd up to Jove ; 

Alcides too thy strings may move ! 

But oh ! what man to join with these can worthy prove? 

Join Theron boldly to their sacred names ; 

Tl^jeron the next honour claims ; 

Theron to no man gives place ; 

Is first in Pisa's and in Virtue's race ;' 

Theron there, and he alone, 

E'en his own swift forefathers has outgone.*' 

One of the company exclaimed, with the full assent of 
the rest, that if the original were madder than this, it 
must be incurably mad. 1 then translated the ode from 
the Greek, and, as nearly as possible, word for word ; 
and the impression was, that in the general movement of 
the periods, in the form of the conqiections and transi- 
tions, and in the sober majesty of lofty sense, it appeared 
^Q them to approacti more aearly than any other poetry 


ihey had heard, to the st} le of our bible in the prophetri. 
books. The tirst strophe will suffice as a specimen. 

'< Ye harp-controulin^ hymns ! (or) ye hymns the sovereigns 

of harps ! 
What God ? what Hero ? 
What man shall we celebrate ? 
Truly Pisa is of Jove, 
But the Olympiad (or the Olympic games) did Hercules 

The first fruits of the spoils of war. 
But Theron for the four-horsed car, 
That bore victory to him, 
It behooves us now to voice aloud ; 
The Just, the Hospitable, 
The Bulwark of Agrigentum, 
Of renowned fathers 
The Flower, even him 
Who preserves kis native city erect and safe.'* 

But are such rhetorical caprices condemnable only for 
Iheir deviation from their language of real life ? and are 
they by no other means to be precluded, but by the re- 
jection of all distinctions betw^een prose and verse, save 
that of metre ? Surely good sense, and a moderate in- 
sight into the constitution of the human mind, would be 
amply sufficient to prove, that such language and such 
combinations are the native produce neither of the fancy 
nor of the imagination ; that their operation consists in 
.the excitement of surprize by the juxta-position and ap- 
parent reconciliation of widely diflerent or incompatible 
things. As when, for instance, the hills are made to re- 
flect the image of a voice. Surely, no unusual taste is 
requisite to see clearly, and that this compulsory juxta- 
position is not produced by the presentation of impressive 
or delightful forms to the inward vision, nor by any 
sympathy with the modifying powers with which the ge- 
nius of the poet had united and inspirited all the objects 
of his thought ; that it is therefore a species of wit, a 
pure work of the will, and implies a leisure and self-pos- 
session both of thought and of feeling, incompatible with 
the steady fervour of a mind possessed and filled with the 
grandeur of its subject. 'I'o sum up the whole in one 
sentence : When a poem, or a part of a poem, shall be 
adduced, which^is evidently vicious in the figures and 


contexture of its style, yet for the condemnation of which 
no reason can be assigned, except that it differs from the 
style in which men actually converse ; then, and not till 
then, can I hold this theory to be either plausible or 
practicable, or capable of furaishing either rule, guidance, 
er precaution, that might not, more easily and more 
safely, as well as more naturally, have been deduced in 
the author's own mind, from considerations of grammar, 
logic, and the truth and nature of things, confirmed by the 
authority of works, whose fame is not of one country, 
nor of ONE age. 

Vol, II. 



Continuation — Concerning the real object whichi it is pro- 
bable, Mr. Wordsrvorih had before him in his critical 
preface — Elucidation and application of this. 

It mii^ht appear from some passages in the former part 
of Mr. Wordsworth's preface, that he mean: to confine 
his theory of style, and the necessity of a close accordance 
with the actual language of men, to those particular sub- 
jects from low and rustic life, which, by way of experi- 
ment, he had purposed to naturalize as a new species in 
our English poetry. But from the train of argument that 
follow^s ; from the reference to Milton ; and from the 
:?pirit of his critique on Gray's sonnet, those sentences 
appear to have been rather courtesies of modesty than 
actual limitations of his system. Yet so groundless does 
this system appear on a close examination ; and so strange 
and overwhelming in its consequences,^ that I cannot, 
and I do not, believe that the poet did ever himself adopt 
it in the unqualified sense in which his expressions have 
been understood by others, and which, indeed, according to 
all the common laws of interpretation, they seem to bear. 
What then did he mean ? I apprehend, that in the clear 
perception, not unaccompanied with disgust or contempt, 
to the gaudy affectations of a style which passed too cur- 
rent with too many for poetic diction, (though, in truth, it 
had as little pretensions to poetry as to logic or common 
sense,) he narrowed his view for the time ; and feel- 
ing a justifiable preference for the language of nature 

* I had in my mind the striking but untranslatable epithet, which the 
celebrated Mendelssohn applied to the great founder of the Critical Phy- 
losophy ^^ Der allessermalmetide.KAisiTj^'' i.e. the all-becrushing, or ra- 
ther the all-to-nothing- crushing Kant. In the facility and force of com^ 
pound epithets, the German, from the number of its cases and inflections, 
approaches to the Greek : that language so 

** Bless'd in the happy marriage of sweet words." 

It is in the woful harshness of its sounds alone that the German need 
shrink from the comparison. 


aiitl of good sense, even in its humblest and least ornameiil^ 
ed forms, he suffered himself to express, in terms at once 
too large and too exclusive, his predilection for a style 
the most remote possible from the false and showy splen- 
dor which he wished to explode. It is possible, that 
this predilection, at first merely comparative, deviated 
fora'tima into direct partiahty. But the real object 
which he had in view was, I doubt not, a species of ex- 
cellence which had been long before most happily cha- 
racterized by the judicious and amiable Garve, whose 
works are so justly beloved and esteemed by the Ger- 
mans, in his remarks on Gellert, (see Sammlung Eini- 
ger Abhandtunged von Christian Garve) from which the 
following is hterally translated, *' The talent that is 
required in order to make excellent verses, is perhaps- 
greater than the philosopher is ready to admit, or would 
find it in his power to acquire : the talent to seek only 
the apt expression of the thought, and yet to find at the 
same time with it the rhyme and the metre. Gellert pos- 
sessed this happy gift, if ever any one of our poets possess- 
ed it ; and nothing perhaps contributed more to the great 
and universal impression which his fables made on their 
tirst publication, or conduces more to their conUi:ried 
popularity. It was a strange and curious phenomenon, 
and such as, in Germany, had been previousl}^ unheard off 
to read verses in which every thing was expressed, just 
as one would wish to talk, and yet all dignified, attrac- 
tive, and interesting ; and all at the same time perfectly 
correct as to the measure of the syllables and the rhyme. 
It is certain that poetry, when it has attained this excel- 
lence, makes a fir greater impression than prose. So 
much so, indeed, that even the gratification which the 
very rhymes afford, becomes then no longer a contempt- 
ible or trifling gratification." 

However novel this phenomenon may have been in 
Germany at the time of Gellert, it is by no means new, 
nor yet of recent existence in our language. Spite of the 
licentiousness with which Spencer occasionally compels 
the orthography of his words into a subservience to his 
rhymes, the whole Fairy Queen is an almost continued in- 
stance of this beauty. Waller's song; " Go, lovely Rose, 
&c." is doubtless familiar to most of my readers ; but if I 
had happened to have had by me the Poems of Cotton, 


more, but far less deservedly, celebrated as the author of 
the Virgil travestied, I should have indulged myself, and, 
i think, have gratified many who are not acquainted 
with his serious works, by selecting some admirable spe- 
cimens of this style. There are not a few poems in that^ 
volume, replete with every excellence of thought, im* 
age, and passion, which we expect or desire io the po- j 
etry of the milder muse ; and yet so worded, that the 
reader sees no one reason either in the selection or the 
order of the words, why he might not have said the very 
same in an appropriate conversation, and cannot conceive 
how indeed he could have expressed such thoughts 
otherwise, without loss or injury to his meaning. 

But, in truth, our language is, and^ from the first dawn 
of poetrjs ever has been, particularly rich in composi- 
tions distinguished by thij: excellence. The final e, which 
is now mute, in Chaucer's age was either sounded or dropt 
indifferently. We ourselves still use either beloved or be^ 
lov\J, according as the rhyme, or measure, or the purpose 
of more or less solemnity may require. Let the reader, 
then, only adopt the pronunciation of the poet, and of 
the court at which he lived, both with respect to the final 
e and to the accentuation of the last syllable, I would 
then venture to ask what, even in the colloquial language 
of elegant and unaffected women, (who are the peculiar 
mistresses of '* pure English, and undefiled,") what could 
we hear more natural, or seemingly more unstudied, than 
the following stanzas from Chaucer's Troilus and Cre- 

'* And after this forth to the gate he went, 
Ther as Creseide out rode a full gode paas : 
And up and doun there made he many a wente^ 
And to hiraselfe full oft he said, Alas ! 
Fro hennis rode my bhsse and my solas : 
As wouldd blisful God now for bis joie, 
I might her sene agen come in to Troie J 
And to the yonder hill I gan her guide, 
Alas ! and there I took of her my leave : 
And yond I saw her to her fathir ride ; 
For sorrow of which mine hearte shall to-cleve ; 
And hithir home I came when it was eve ; 
And here I dwel; out-cast from alle joie, 
And shall, til I maie sene her efte in Troie. 


And of himse^fe imag"inid he ofte 

Tx) ben defaitid, pale and waxen lesse 

Than he was wonte, and that men saidin softe, 

What may it be? who can the sothe guess, 

Why Troilus hath al this heviness ? 

And al this n' as but his melancholia, 

That he had of hiraselfe suche fantasie. 

Another time imaginin he would 

That every wight, that past him by the wey 

Had of him routhe, and that they saien should, 

lam rig-ht sorry, Troilus will die ! 

And thus he drove a dale yet forth or twey, 

As ye have herde : suche life gan he to lede 

As he that stode betwixin hope and drede : 

For which him likid in his songis shewe 
Th' eucbeson of his wo as he best might, 
And made a songe of wordis but a fewe, 
Somwhat his woefull herte for to light, 
And when he was from every mann'is sight 
With softe voice he of his lady dere. 
That absent was, gan sing as ye may hear : 

This song when he thus songin had, full soott 
He fell agen into his sighis olde : 
And every night, as was his wonte to done, 
He stode the bright moone to beholde 
And all his sorrowe to the moone he tolde. 
And said : I wis, when thou art hornid newe, 
I shall be giad, if al the world be trewe !" 

Another exquisite master of this species of style, where 
fhe scholar and the poet supplies the material, but the 
perfect well-bred gentleman the expressions and the ar- 
rangement, is George Herbert, As from the nature of 
the subject, and the too frequent quaintwess of the thoughts, 
his '* Temple, or Sacred Poems and Private Ejaculations," 
are comparatively but little known, I shall extract two 
poems. The first is a sonnet, equally admirable for the 
weight, number, and expression of the thoughts, and for 
the siiTiple dignity of the language. (Unless, indeed, a 
fastidious taste should object to the latter half of the sixth 
line.) The second is a poem of greater length, which I 
have chosen not only for the present purpose, but, like- 
wise, as a striking example and illustration of an asser- 
tion hazarded in a former page of these sketches : namely ,• 
fkat the characteristic fault of our elder poets is the re- 


ferse of that which distinguishes too many of our more 
recent versifiers ; the one conveying the most fantastic 
thoughts in the most correct and natural language ; the 
other in the most fantastic language conveying the most 
trivial thoughts. The latter is a riddle of words ; the 
former an enigma of thoughts. The one reminds me of 
an odd passage in Drayton's Ideas : 

Sonnet IX. 

As other men, so I myself do muse, 
Why in this sort I wrest invention so; 
And why these giddy metaphors I use, 
Leaving the path the greater part do go ? 
I will resolve you : / am lunatic I 

The other recalls a still odder passage in the *' Syna- 
gogue ; or the Shadow of the Temple^'' a connected se- 
-ries of poems in imitation of Herbert's " Temple," and 
in some editions annexed to it. 

O how my mind 

Is gravellM ! 

Not a thought, 
That I can find, 

But's ravell'd 
All to nought ! 
Short ends of threds, 

And narrow shreds 

Of lists ; 
Knot's snarled ruffs, 
Loose broken tufts 
Of twists; 
Are my torn meditations ragged clothing, 
Which wound, and woven shape a sute for nothing; 
One while I think, and then I am in pain , 

To think how to unthink that thought again ! 

Immediately after these burlesque passages, I cannot 
proceed to the extracts promised, without changing the 
ludicrous tone of feeling by the interposition of the three 
following stanzas of Herbert's : 



Sweet day so cool, so calm, so bright. 
The bridal of the earth and sky : 
The dew shall weep thy fall to night, 
For thou must dye ! 

Sweet rose, whose hue ang-ry and brave 
Bids the rash g-azer wipe his eye : 
Thy root is ever in its grave, 
And thou must dye l 

Sweet spring", full of sweet days and rosesi 
A nest, where sweets compacted lie .• 
My rausick shows ye have your closes, 
And all must dye ! 


Ji Sonnet^ by George Herbert. 

Lord, with what care hast thou begirt us round ? 
Parents first season us ; then schoolmasters 
Deliver us to laws ; they send us bound 
To rules of reason, holy mess^ingers. 

Pulpits and Sundays, sorrow dogging sin, 
Afflictions sorted, anguish of all sizes, 
Fine nets and stratagems to catch us in, 

Bibles laid open, millions of surprises ; 

Blessings before hand, ties of gratefulness, 
The sound of glory ringing in our ears : 
Without, our shame ; within, our consciences ; 

Angels and grace, eternal hopes and fears ! 
Yet all these fences, and their whole array, 
One cunning bosom- sin blows quite away. 

LOVE unknown. 

Dear friend, sit down, the tale is long and sad : 

And in my faintings, I presume, your love 

Will more comply than help. A Lord I had, 

And have of whom some grounds, which may improve, 

I hold for two lives, and both lives in me.^ 

To him I brought a dish of fruit one day 

And in the middle placed my beabt. But he 

(I sigh to say> 


Lookt on a servant who did know bis eye, 
Belter than you knew me, or (which is one) 
Than I myself. The servant instantly, 
Quitting the fruit, seiz/d on my heart alone, 
And threw it in a font, wherein did fall 
A stream of bl/)od, which issued from the side 
Of a g-reat rock : I well remember all, 
And have g-ood cause : there it was dipt and dy'd, 
And washt, and wrun^! the very wringing" yet 
Enforceth tears. Your heart wasfoul^ I fear* 
Indeed 'tis true. T did and do commit 
Many a fault, more than my lease v/ill bear ; 
Yet still ask'd pardon, and was not deny'd. 
But you shall hear. After my heart was well, 
And clean and fair, as I one eventide, 

(I sigh to tell,) 
Walkt by myself abroad, I saw a larg-e 
And spacious furnace flaming, and thereon 
A boiling caldron, round about whose verge 
Was in great letters set AFFLICTION. 
The greatness show'd the owner. So I went 
To fetch a sacrifice out of my fold. 
Thinking with that, which I did thus present, 
To warm his love, which, I did fear, grew cold. 
But as m}^ heart did tender it, the man 
Who was to take it from me, slipt his hand. 
And threw my heart into the scalding* pan ; 
My heart that brought it Cdo you understand ?) 
The offever'^s heart- Your heart was hard, I fear* 
Indeed 'tis true. I found a callous matter 
Began to spread and to expatiate there: 
But v/ith a richer drug than scalding" water 
I bath'd it often, e'en with holy blood, 
Which at a board, while many drank bare wine. 
A friend did steal into my cup for g"ood, 
E'en taken inwardly, and most divine 
To supple hardnesses. But at the length 
Out of the caldron getting, soon i fled 
Unto my house, where to repair the strecg-tli 
Which I had lost, I hasted to n\y bed ; 
But when I thought to sleep out all these faults, 

(I siL^h to speak,) 
I found that some had stufTd the bed with thoughts, 
I would say thorns. Dear, could my hc?art not break. 
When with my pleasures even my rest v^ as gone ? 
Full well I understood who had been there : 
For I had given the key to none but one ; 
It must be he. Your heart v;as dulL J f:<:n\ 


Indeed a slack and sleepy state of mind 
Did oft possess me ; so that when I pray'd, 
Thoug-h my lips went, my heart did stay behind. 
But all my scores were by another paid, 
Who took my guilt upon him. Truly ^friend; 
For oiig'ht I hear^ your master shows to you 
jVTore favour than you wot of, Mark the end .' 
The font did only to hat was old renew ; 
The caldron suppled what was grovm too hard ^ 
The thorns did quicken what was grown too dulli 
All did but strive to mend what you had marr'^d. 
Wherefore he cheer'd, and praise him to the full 
Each day^ each hour, each moment of the weck^ 
Who fain would have you be newy tender, quicfe ( 



Tlie former subject continued — The neutral style, or that 
common to I'rose and Poetry, exemplified by specimen!^ 
from Chaucer, Herbert^ 4'C. 

I have no fear in declaring my conviction, that, the ex- 
cellence defined and exemplified in the preceding Chap- 
ter is not the characteristic excellence of Mr. Words- 
worth's style ; because I can add with equal sincerity, 
that it is precluded by higher powers. The praise of 
uniform adherence to genuine, logical English, is un- 
doubtedly his ; nay, laying the main emphasis on the word 
uniform, I will dare add, that of all contemporary poets, 
it is his alone. For in a less absolute sense of the word, 
I should certainly include Mr, Bowles, Lord Bvron, 
and, as to all his later writings, Mr. Southey, the ex- 
ceptions in their works being so (^\w and unimportant. 
But of the specific excellence described in the quotation 
from Garfe, I appear to find more, and more undoubted 
specimens in the work of others ; for instance, among 
the minor poems of Mr. Thomas Moore, and of our illus- 
trious Laureate. To me it will always remain a singu- 
lar and noticeable fact, that a theory which would es- 
tablish this lingua communis, not only as the best, but as 
the only commendable style, should have proceeded from 
a poet whose diction, next to that of Shakspeare and 
Milton, appears to me of all others the most individual' 
ized and characteristic. And let it be remembered, too, 
that I am now interpreting the controverted passages of 
Mr. W.'s critical preface hy the purpose and object which 
he may be supposed to have intended, rather than by 
the sense which the words themselves must convey, if 
they are taken without this allowance. 

A person of any taste, who had but studied three or 
four of Shakspeare's principal plays, would, without the 
name affixed, scarcely fail to recognize as Shakspeare's, 
a quotation from any other play, though but of a few 
lines. A similar peculiarity, though in a less degree. 


attends Mr. Wordsworth's style, whenever he speaks in 
his own person ; or whenever, though under a feigned 
nanie, it is clear that he himself is .still speaking, as in 
the different drainatis personae of the '* Recllse ' Even 
in the other poems in which he purposes to be most dra- 
mptic there are few in which it does not occasionally 
burst forth. The reader might often address the poet in 
his own words with reference to the persons introduced : 

*' It seems, as T retrace the ballad line by line 

That but halt of it is their's, and the better half is thine." 

Who, having been previously acquainted with any 
considerable portion of Mr. Wordsworth s publications, 
and having studied them with a full feeling of the author's 
genius, would not at once claim as Wordsworthian the 
little poem on the rainbow ? 

*' The child is father of the man, i&c." 

Or in the " Lucy Gray ? 

*' No mate, no comrade Lucy knew ; 
She dwelt on a wide moor ; 
T'/ie sweetest thing that ever grew 
Beside a human door.^'' 

Or in the " Idle Shepherd-boys V 

** Along the river's stony marg-e 
The sand-lark chaunts a joyous song ; 
The thrush is busy in the wood, 
And carols loud and strong. 
A thousand lambs are en the rock 
All newly born ! both earth and sky 
Keep jubilee, and more than all. 
Those boys with their green coronal, 

They never hear the cry, ^ 

That plaintive cry which up the hill 
Comes from the depth of Dungeon Gill.'* 

Need I mention the exquisite description of the Sea 
Lock in the *' Blind Highland Boy." ^ Who but a poet 
tells a tale in such language to the little ones by the fire- 
side as — 


•** Yet bad he many a restless dream 
Both when he heard the eagle's scream. 
And when he heard the torrents roar. 
And heard the water beat the shore 

Near where their cottage stood. 

Beside a lake their cottage stood, 
Not small like our*s a peaceful flood ? 
But one of mighty size, and strange 
That rough or smooth is full or change 
And stirring in its bed. 

For to this lake by night and day, 
The great sea- water finds its way 
Through long, long windings of the hills, 
And drinks up all the pretty rills ; 

And rivers large and strong : 

Then hurries back the road it came— 
Returns on errand still the same ; 
This did it when the earth was new j 
-And this for evermore will do, 

As long as earth shall last. 

And with the coming of the tide, 
Come boats and ships that sweetly ride, 
Between the woods and lofty rocks ; 
And to the shepherd with their flocks 
Bring tales of distant lands.'* 

I might quote almost the w^hole of his ** Ruth,'' but 
take the following stanzas : 

•* But as you have before been told, 
This stripling, sportive gay and bold, 
And with his dancing crest, 
So beautiful, through savage lands 
Had roam'd about with vagrant bands 
Of Indians in the West. 

The wind, the tempest roaring higfci, 
The tumult of a tropic sky. 
Might well be dangerous food 
For him, a youth to whom was given 
So much of earth, so much of heaven^ 
And such impetuous blood. 


Whatever in those climes he found 
Irregular ia sight or sound, 
Did to his mind impart 
A kindred impulse ; seemM allied 
To his own powers, and justified 

The workings of his heart. 

Nor less to feed voluptuous thought 
The beauteous forms of nature wrought, 
Fair trees and lovely flowers ; 
The breezes their own languor lent, 
The stars had feelings, which they sent 
Into those magic bowers. 

Yet in his worst pursuits, I ween. 
That sometimes there did intervene 
Pure hopes of high intent . 
For passions, link'd to forms so fair 
And stately, needs must have their share 
Of noble sentiment." 

But from Mr. Wordsworth's more elevated composi- 
tions, irhich already form three-fourths of his works; 
an<l will, I trust, constitute hereafter a still larger pro- 
portion ; — from these, whether in rhyme or blank verse, 
it would be difficult, and almost superfluous, to select in- 
stances of a diction peculiarly his own; of a style which 
cannot be imitated wjthout its being at once recognized, 
as originatmg in Mr. Wordsworth. It would not be easy 
to open on any one of his loftier strains, that does not 
contain examples of this ; and more in proportion as the 
lines are more excellent, and most like the author. For 
those who may happen to have been less familiar with 
his writings, 1 will give three specimens takeavvith little 
choice The first from the lines on the ** Boy of Wijt- 
ander-Mlre/' — who 

*' Blew mimic hootings to the silent owls, 

That they might answer him. And they would shout, 

Across the watery vale and shout again 

With long hailoos, and screams, and echoes loud 

Bedoubled and redoubled, concourse wild 

Of mirth and jocund din. And when it chanced, 

That pauses of deep silence mock'd hh skill, 

Trien sometimes in that silence^ while he hun^ 

LisUning, a gentk shock of mild surfirise 

\0L. 11. 7 


Has carried far into his heart the voice 

Of mountain torrents ; or the visible scene* 

W ruld enter unawares into his mind 

With all its solemn imagery^ its rocks ^ 

lis woods^ and that uncertain heaven^ received 1 

Into the bosom of the steady lake J'* 

The second shall be that noble imitation of Draytont 
{if it was not rather a coincidence) in the *' Joanna." 

** When I had gazed perhaps two minutes' space, 
Joanna, looking in my eyes, beheld 

* Mr. Wordworth's having: judiciously adopted " concourst nild'^ in 
this passag^e for " o rvild srenef'' as it stood in tne former edition, encou- 
rages ixie to h izard a remark, which I certainly should not have made in 
the works of a poet less austerely accurate in the use of words than he 
is, to his own great honour. It respects the propriety of the word 
** scene^'' even in the sentence in which it is retained. Dryden, and he 
only in his more careless verses, was the first, as far as my researches 
have discovered, who for the convenience of rhyme used this word in the 
vague sense which has been since too current even in our best writers, 
and which (unfortunately, I think,) is given as its first explanation in Dr. 
Johnson's Dictionary, and therefore would be taken by an incautious 
reader as its proper sense. In Shakspeare and Milton the word is never 
used without some clear reference, proper or metaphorical, to the theatre. 
Thus Milton ; 

•* Cedar and pine, and fir, and branchin^^ palm, 
A Sylvan scene; and as the ranks ascend 
Shacle above shade, a woody theatre 
Of stateliest view." 

I object to any extension of its meaning, becanse the word is alreadj 
more equivcKal than might be wished; inasmuch as in the limited use 
which I recommend, it may still signify two different things; namely, the 
scenery, and the characters and actions presented on the stage during the 
presence of particular scenes. It can therefore be preserved from obscu- 
rity only by keeping the original signification full in the mind. Thus 
Miltou a^tiin, 

** Prepare thou for another scene." 

f AMiich Copland scarce had spoke, but quickly everj- hill 
Upon her verge that stands, tne neighbouring valleys fill : 
HELviLLONfrom his height, it through the mountains threw. 
From whom as soon again, the sound Dlnbai.rase drew. 
From whose stone-trophied head, it on the Wkndkoss went, 
"IVhich, tow'rds the sea again, rejouudod it to Dent : 
That BiiOAUWATER, therewith within her banks astound, 
In s liling to the sea told it to Egrkmouno, 

Whose buildin;AS, walks, and streets, with echoes loud and long, 
Pi4 mightily coiuiuend old Copland for her song I 

Drayton's Poltolbiok : Song XXXt 


That ravishment of mine, and laugh'd aloud. 
The rock, like something starting from a sleep, 
Took up the lady's voice, and laugh'd again ! 
That ancient woman seated on Helm-crag 
Was ready with her cavern ! Hammar-scar, 
And the tall steep of Silver-How sent forth 
A noise of laughter : southern Loughrigg heard, 
And Fairfield answered with a mountain tone, 
Helvelltn far into the clear blae sky 
Carried the lady's voice! — old Skiddaw blew 
His speaking trumpet ! — back out of the clouds 
From Glaramara southward came the voice : 
And KiRKSTONE tossed it from his misty head !" 

The third, which is in rhyme, I take from the " Song 
at the feast of Brougham Castle, upon the restoration of 
Lord Clifford, the shepherd, to the estates of hisancestors*'* 

*' Now another day is come 

Fitter hope, and nobler doom: 

He hath thrown aside his crook. 

And hath buried deep his book ; ; 

Armour rusting in the hails 

On the blood ff Clifford calls; 

Quell the Scot^ exclaims the lance / 

Bear me to the heart of France 

Is the longing of 'the shield — 

Tell thy name, thou trembling field * 

Field of deaths where'* er thou bey 

Groan thou with our victory ! 

Happy day, and mighty hour, 

When our shepherd, in his power. 

Mailed and horsed with lance and aword, 

To his ancestors restored. 

Like a re-appearing star, 

Like a glory from afar. 

First shall head the flock of war /" 

Alas ! the fervent harper did not know, 
That for a tranquil soi^l the lay was framed. 
Who, long c impelled in humble walks to go, 
Was softened into feeling, soothed, and tamed. 
Love had he found in huts where poor men lie : 
His daily teachers had been woods and rills, 
The silence that is in the starry sky^ 
The sleep that is among the lonely hills,^^ 

The words themselves in the fore2:oing extracts are, no 
doubt, sufficiently common for the greater part. (But in 


what poem are they not so ? if we except a few misad* 
venturous attempts to translate the arts and sciences into 
verse ?) In the ** Excursion" the number of polysyllabic 
(or what the common people call, dictionary) words is 
more than usually great. And so must it needs be, in 
proportion to the number and variety of an author's con- 
ceptions, and his solicitude to express them with preci- 
sion.) But are those words in those places commonly em- 
ployed in real life to express the same thought or out- 
ward thing ? Are they the style used in the ordinary in- 
tercourse of spoken words ? No ! nor are ihe modes of 
connexions ; and still less the breaks and transitions. 
Would any but a poet — at least, could any one without 
being conscious that he had expressed himself with no- 
ticeable vivacity — have described a bird singing loud by, 
" The thrush is busy in the wood ?" Or have spoken of 
boys with a string of club-moss round Ihcir rusly hats, as 
the boys *' i^ith their green coronal ?^'' Or have translated 
a beautiful May-day into " Both earth ayid sky keep ju- 
bilee?'^ Or have brought all the different marks and cir- 
cumstances of a sea-loch before the mind, as the actions 
of a living and acting power? Or have represented the 
reflection of the sky in the water, as " That uncertain 
heaven received into the bosom of the steady lake .^" Even 
the grammatical construction is not unfrequently pecu- 
liar ; as '* The wind, the tempest roaring high, the tu- 
mult of a tropic sky, might well be dangerous food to 
him. a youth to whom was given, olc." There is a pe- 
culiarity in the frequent use of the do-uvajTuTov (i. e. the 
omission of the connective particle before the last of se- 
veral words, or several sentences used grammatically as 
single words, all being in the same case, and governing or 
governed by the same verb) and not less in the construc- 
tion of words by apposition [to him a youth.) In short, 
%vere there excluded from Mr. Wordsworth's poetic com- 
positions all that a literal adherence to the theory of his 
preface zvoidd exclude, two- thirds at least of the marked 
beauties of his poetry must be erased. For a far grcciter 
number of lines would be sacrificed, than in any other 
recent poet ; because the pleasure received from Words- 
worth's poems being less derived either from excitement 
of curiosity, or the rapid flow of narration, the striking 
passages form a larger proportion of their value. I do 


not adduce it as a fair criterion of comparative excel- 
lence, nor do I even think it such ; but merely as matter 
of fact [ affirm, that from no contemporary writer could 
so many lines be quoted, without reference to the poem 
in which they are found, for their own independent 
weight or beauty. From the sphere of my own experi- 
ence I can bring to my recollection three persons of no 
every-day powers and acquirejnents, who had read the 
poems of others with more and more unallayed pleasure, 
and had thought more highly of their authors, as poets ; 
who yet have confessed to me, that from no modern work 
had so many passages started up anew in their minds at 
different times, and as different occasions had awakened 
a meditative mood. 




Remarks on the present mode of conducihig enticed journals. 

Long have I wished to see a fair and philosophical in- 
quisition into the character of Wordsworth, as a poet, on 
the evidence of his published works ; and a positive, not 
a comparative, appreciation of their characteristic excel- 
lencies, deficiencies, and defects. I know no claim, that 
the mere opinion of any individual can have io weigh 
down the opinion of the author himself; against the pro- 
bability of whose parental partiality we ought to set that 
of his having thought longer and more deeply on the 
subject. But I should call that investigation fair and 
philosophical, in which the critic announces and endea- 
vors to establish the principles, which he holds for the 
foundation of poetry in general, with the specification of 
these in their application to the different classes of poet- 
ry. Having thus prepared his canons of criticism for 
praise and condemnation, he would proceed to particu- 
larize the most striking passages to which he deems them 
applicable, faithfully noticing the frequent or infrequent 
recurrence of similar merits or defects, and as faithfully 
distinguishing what is characteristic from what is acci* 
dental, or a mere flagging of the wing. Then, if his 
premises be rational, his deductions legitimate, and his 
conclusions justly applied, the reader, and possibly the 
poet himself, may adopt his judgment in the light of 
judgment, and in the independence of free agency. If 
he has erred, he presents his errors in a definite place 
and tangible form, and holds the torch and guides the 
way to their detection. 

1 most willingly admit, and estimate at a high value, 
the services which the Edinburgh Review, and others 
formed afterwards on the same plan, have rendered to 
society in the diflfusion of knowledge. I think the com- 
mencement of the Edinburgh Review an important epoch 
in periodical criticism ; and that it has a claim upon the 
gratitude of the literary republic, and, indeed, of the 
reading public at large , for having originated the scheme 


of reviewing those books only wluch are susceptible 
and deserving cf argumentative criticism. Not less me- 
ritorious, and far more faithfully, and, in general, far more 
ably executed, is their plan of supplying the vacant place 
of the trash of mediocrity, wisely left to sink into obli- 
vion by their own weight, with original essays on the 
most interesting subjects of the time, religious, or po- 
litical ; in which the titles of the books or pamphlets 
prefixed furnish only the name and occasion of the dis- 
quisition. I do not arraign the keenness or asperity of 
its damnatory style, in and for itself, as long as the au- 
thor is addressed or treated as the mere impersonation 
of the work then under trial. I have no quarrel with 
them on this account, as long as no personal allusions are 
admitted, and no re-commitment (for new trial) of juve- 
nile performances, that were published, perhaps forgot- 
ten, many years before the commencement of the re- 
view : since for the forcing back of such works to public 
notice no motives are easily assignable, but such as are 
furnished to the critic by his own personal malignity j 
or what is still worse, by a habit of malignity in the form 
of mere wantonness. 

**No private grudge they need, no personal spite : 
The vivasectio is its own delight! 
AUenrrJty, ail envy, tliey disclaim, 
Disinterested thieves of our good name : 
Cool, sober murderers of their neighbour's fame !" 

s. T. a 

Every censure, every sarcasm respecting a publication 
which the critic, with the criticised work before him, 
can make good, is the critic's right. The writer is au- 
thorized to reply, but not to complain. Neither can 
any one prescribe to the critic, how soft or how hard ; 
how friendly, or how bitter, shall he the phrases which 
he is to select for the expression of such reprehension 
or ridicule. The critic must know what effect it is his 
object to produce ; and with a view to this effect must 
he weigh his words. But as soon as the critic betrays, 
that he knows more of his author than the author's pub- 
lications could have told him ; as soon as from this more 
intimate knowledge, elsewhere obtained, he avails him- 
setfof the slightest trait against the author, his censure 


instantly becomes personal injury, his sarcasms persona 
insults. He ceases to be a critic, and takes on him the 
most contemptible character to which a rational creature 
can be degraded, that of a gossip, backbiter, and pasquil-j 
lant : but with this heavy aggravation, that he steals the! 
unquiet, the deforming passions of the World into the 
Museum ; into the very place which, next to the chapel ' 
and oratory, should be our sanctuary, and secure place 
of refuge ; offers abominations on the altar of the muses ; 
and makes its sacred paling the very circle in which he 
conjures up the lying and prophane spirit. 

This determination of unlicensed personality, and of 
permitted and legitimate censure (which I owe in part 
to the illustrious Lessing, himself a model of acute, spi- 
rited, sometimes stinging, but always argumentative and 
honourable, criticism) is beyond controversy the true 
one : and though I would not myself exercise all the 
rights of the latter, yet, let but the former be excluded, 
I submit myself to its exercise in the hands of others, 
without complaint and without resentment. 

Let a communication be formed between any number 
of learned men in the various branches of science and 
literature ; and whether the president and central com- 
mittee be in London, or Edinburgh, if only they previ- 
ously lay aside their individuality, and pledge themselves 
inwardly, as well as ostensibly, to administer judgment 
according to a constitution and code of laws ; and if by 
grounding this code on the two-fold basis of universal 
morals and philosophic reason, independent of all fore- 
seen application to particular works and authors, they 
obtain the right to speak each as the representative of 
their body corporate ; they shall have honour and good 
wishes from me, and I shall accord to them their fair 
dignities, though self-assumed, not less cheerfully than if 
I could inquire concerning them in the herald's office, 
or turn to them in the book of peerage. However loud 
may be the outcries for prevented or subverted reputa- 
tion, however numerous and impatient the complaints of 
merciless severity and insupportable despotism, 1 shall 
neither feel, nor utter aught but to the defence and jus- 
tification of the critical machine. Should any literary 
Quixote find himself provoked by its sounds and regular 
movements, I should admonish him with Sancho Fanz9> 


that it is no giant but a windmill ; there it stands on it-^ 
own place, and its own hillock, never goes out of its way 
to attack any one, and to none aii('. from none either gives 
or a5kt3 assistance. When the public press has poured 
in any part of its produce between its n^iill-stones, it 
grinds it off, one man's sack the same as another, and 
with whatever wind may happen to be then blowing. 
Ail the two-and-thirty winds are alike its friend.?. Of 
the whole wide atmosphere it does not desire a single 
finger-breadth more than what is necessary for its sails 
to turn round in. But this space must be left free and 
unimpeded. Gnats, beetles, wasps, butterflies, and the 
whole tribe of ephemerals and insignificants, may flit in 
and out and between ; may hum, and buzz, and jarr ; 
may shrill their tiny pipes, and wind their p^iny horns, 
unchastised and unnoticed. But idlers and bravadoes of 
larger size and prouder show must beware how they 
place themselves within its sweep. Much less may they 
presume to lay hands on the sails, the strength of which 
is neither greater nor less than as the v/ind is, which 
drives them round. Whomsoever the remorseless arm 
slings aloft, or whirls along with it in the air, he has him- 
self alone to blame ; though when the same arm throws 
him from it, it will more often double than break the 
force of his fall. 

Putting aside the too manifest and too frequent inter- 
ference of NATIONAL PARTY, and evcu PERSONAL predi- 
lection or aversion ; and reserving for deeper feelings 
those worse and m.ore criminal intrusions into the sa- 
credness of private life, which not seldom merit legal 
rather than literary chastisement, the two principal ob- 
jects and occasions which 1 tind for blame and regret in 
the conduct of the review in question are : flrst, its un- 
faithfulness to its own announced and excellent plan, by 
subjecting to criticism works neither indecent or immo- 
ral, yet of such trifling importance even in point of size 
and according to the critic's ov»n verdict, so devoid of all 
merit, as must excite in the most candid mind the suspi- 
cion, either that dislike or vindictive feelings were at 
work, or that there was a cold prudential pre-determi- 
nation to increase the sale of the ReView by flattering 
the malignant passions of human nature. Th;-t 1 may 
not myself become subject to the charge, which 1 am 


bringing against others, by an accusation without proof, 
I refer to the article on Dr. Rennell's sermon in the very 
first number of the Ec^inburgh Review as an illustration 
of my meaning. If in looking through all the succeed- 
ing volumes the reader should find this a solitary in- 
stance, 1 must submit to that painful forfeiture of esteem, 
which awaits a groundless or exaggerated charge. 

The second point of objection belongs to this review 
only in common with all other works of periodical criti- 
cism ; at least, it applies in common to the general sys- 
tem of all, whatever exception there may be in favour of 
particular articles. Or if it attaches to the Edinburgh 
Review, and to its only corrival, (the Quarterly,) with 
any peculiar force ; this results from the superiority of 
talent, acquirement, and information, which both have so 
undeniably displayed ; and which doubtless deepens the 
regret, though not the blame. I am referring to the 
substitution of assertion for argument ; to the frequency 
of arbitrary, and sometimes petulant verdicts, not seldom 
unsupported even by a single quotation from the work 
condemned, which might at least have explained the cri- 
tic's meaning, if it did not prove the justice of his sen- 
tence. Ev^en where this is not the case, the extracts are 
too often made, without reference to any general grounds 
or rules, from v/hich the faultiness or inadmissibility of 
the qualities attributed, may be deduced ; and without 
any attempt to show, that the qualities are attributable to 
the passage extracted. I have met with such extracts 
from Mr. Wordsworth's poems, annexed to such asser- 
tions, as led me to imagine that the reviewer, having 
written his critique before he had read the work, had 
then pricked with a pin for passages, wherewith to illus- 
trate the various branches of his preconceived opinions. 
By what principle of rational choice can we suppose a 
critic to have been directed (at least in a christian coun- 
try, and himself, we hope, a christian) who gives the 
following lines, portraying the fervour of solitary devo- 
tion excited by the magnificent display of the Almighty's 
works, as a proof and example of an author's tendency 
to downright ravings, and absolute unintelligibility. 

'* O then what soul was his, 'when on the tops 
Of the high mountains he beheld the sun 


Rise up, and bathe the world in light ! He looked— 

Ocean and earth, the solid frame of earth, 

And ocean's liquid mass, beneath him lay 

In gladness and deep joy. The clouds were touch'd. 

And in their silent faces did he read 

Unutterable love ! Sound needed none, 

Nor any voice of joy : his spirit drank 

The spectacle ! sensation, soul, and form, 

AH melted into him. They swallowed up 

His animal bein§ ; in them did he live, 

And by them did he live : they were his life. 


Can it be expected, that either the author or his ad- 
mirers, should be induced to pay any serious attention 
to decisions which prove nothing but the pitiable state 
of the critic's own taste and sensibihty ? On opening the 
Review they see a favorite passage, of the force and 
truth of which they had an intuitive certainty in their 
own inward experience confirmed, if confirmation it could 
receive, by the sympathy of their most enlightened 
friends ; some of whom, perhaps, even in the world's 
opinion, hold a higher intellectual rank than the critic 
himself would presume to claim. And this very passage 
they find selected as the characteristic effusion of a mind 
deserted by reason ; as furnishing evidence that the wri- 
ter was raving, or he could not have thus strung words 
together without sense or purpose ! No diversity of 
taste seems capable of explaining such a contrast in judg- 

That I had over^rated the merit of a passage or poem ; 
that I had erred concerning the degree of its excellence, 
I might be easily induced to believe or apprehend. But 
that lines, the sense of which I had analysed and found 
consonant with all the best convictions of my understand- 
ing ; and the imagery and diction of which had collected 
round those convictions my noblest, as well as my most 
delightful feelings ; that I should admit such lines to be 
mere nonsense or lunacy, is too much for the most in- 
genious arguments to effect. But that such a revolution 
of taste should be brought about by a^ few broad asser- 
tions, seems httle less than impossible. On the contra- 
ry, it would require an effort of charity not to dismiss the 


criticism with the aphorism of the wise man, in animaj 
malevolam sapientia hj-iid intrare potest. 

What, then, if this very critic J?Jiould have cited a larg 
number of single lin^ ^, and even of long paragraphs, whici 
he himself acknowledges to possess eniincnt and original 
beauty ? What if he himself has owiied, that beauties 
as great are scattered in abi^ndance tnrougjiout the whole 
book? And yet, though under this impression, should 
have commenced his critique in vnlg cr exultation, with 
a prophecy meant to secure its own fulfilment ? With a 
•* This won't do !" What ? if after such acknowledg- 
ments, extorted from his own judgment, he should pro- 
ceed from charge to chare of tameness, and raving ; flights 
and flatness ; and at length, consigning the author to the 
house of incurables, should conclude with a strain of ru- 
dest contempt, evidently grounded in the distempered 
state of his own moral associations ? Suppose, too, all 
this done without a single leading principle established 
or even announced, and without any one attempt at ar- 
gumentative deduction, though the poet had presented a 
more than usual opportunity for it, by having previously 
made public his ov/n principles of judgment in poetry, and 
supported them by a connected train of reasoning ! 

The oflice and duty of the poet is to select the most 
dignified as well as 

" The happiest, gayest, attitude of things." 

The reverse, for in all cases a reverse is possible, is the 
appropriate business of burlesque and travesty, a pre- 
dominant taste for which has been always deemed a mark 
of a low and degraded mind. When 1 was at Rome, a- 
mong many other visits to the tomb of Julius II., I went 
thither once with a Prussian artist, a man of genius and 
great vivacity of feeling. As we were gazing on Michael 
Angelo's Moses, our conversation turned on the horns 
and beard of that stupendous statue ; of the necessit}^ of 
each to support the other ; of the super-human effect of 
the former, and the necessity of the existence of both 
to give a harmony and integrity both to the image and 
the feeling excited by it. Conceive them removed, and 
the statue would become «/i-natural, without being .^fw^^er- 
?3atural. We called to mind the horns of the rising sun, 


and I repeated the noble passage from Taylor's Holy 
Dying. That horns were the emblem of power and 
sovereignty among the Eastern nations, anJ are still re- 
tained as such in Abyssinia ; the Achelous of the ancient 
Greeks ; and the probable ideas and feelings, that origi- 
nally suggested the mixture of the human and the brute 
form in the figure, by which they realized the idea of 
their mysterious Pan, as representing intelligence blend- 
ed with a darker power, deeper, mightier, and more 
universal than the concious intellect of man ; than intel- 
ligence ; — all these thoughts and recollections passed in 
procession before our minds. My companion, who pos- 
sessed more than his share of the hatred which his 
countrymen bore to the French, had just observed to me, 
*• a Frenchman^ Sir ! is the only animal in the human shape, 
that by no possibility can lift itself up to religion or poe- 
try r^ When, lo ! two French officers of distinction and 
rank entered the church ! Mark you^ whispered the 
Prussian, " the first thing which those scoundrels will 
notice^ {for they will begin by instantly noticing the statue 
in parts ^ without one momenfs pause of admiration impress- 
ed by the whole,) wi'J be the horns and the beard. And 
the associations, which they will immediately connect with 
them, will be those of a he-goat and a cuckold.'' Never 
did man guess more luckily. Had he inherited a por- 
tion of the great legislator's prophetic powers, whose 
statue we had been contemplating, he could scarcely 
have uttered words more coincident with the result ; for 
even as he had said, so it came to pass. 

In the Excursion, the poet has introduced an old man, 
born in humble, but not abject circumstances, who had 
enjoyed more than usual advantages of education, both 
from books and from the more awful discipline of nature. 
This person he represents, as having been driven by the 
restlessness of ferved feehngs, and from a craving intel- 
lect, to an itinerant life ; and as having in consequence 
passed the larger portion of his time, from earliest man- 
hood, in villages and hamlets from door to door, 

'* A vagrant merchant bent beneath his load." 

Now, whether this be a character appropriate to a lofty 
didactic poem, is, perhaps, questionable. It presents a 
Vol. II. 8 


lair subject for controversy ; and the question is to be de- 
termined by the congruity or incongruity of such a cha- 
racter, with what shall be proved to be the essential 
constituents of poetry. But surely the critic, who, pas- 
sing by all the opportunities which such a mode of life 
would present to such a man ; ail the advantages of the 
liberty of nature, of solitude and of solitary thought ; all 
the varieties of places and seasons, through which his 
track had lain, with all the varying imagery they bring 
with them ; and, lastly, all the observations of men, 

*< Their manners, their eDJoyments and pursuits, 
Their passions and their feelings, 

which the memory of these yearly journeys must have 
given and recalled to such a mind — the critic, I say, who 
from the multitude of possible associations should pass 
by all these, in order to fix his attention exclusively on 
the pin papers, and stay-tapes, which might have been 
among the wares of his pack ; this critic^ in my opinion, 
cannot be thought to possess a much higher or much 
healther state of moral feehng, than the Frenchman? 
above recorded. 



TIte characteristic defects of Wordsworth'' s poetry, with the^ 
principles from which the judgment, that they are de^ 
fects, is deduced — Their proportion to the beauties — For 
the greatest part characteristic of his theory only. 

If Mr. Wordsworth have set forth principles of poetry 
which his arguments are insufficient to support, let him 
and those who have adopted his sentiments be set right 
by the confutation of those arguments, and by the sub- 
stitution of more philosophical principles. And still let 
the due credit be given to the portion and importance or 
the truths which are blended with his theory ; truths, 
the too exclusive attention to which had occasioned its 
errors, by tempting him to carry those truths beyond 
their proper limits. If his mistaken theory have at all in- 
fluenced his poetic compositions, let the effects be point- 
ed out, and the instances given. But let it likewise be 
shown, how far the influence has acted : whether diffu- 
sively, or only b}^ starts ; whether the number and im- 
portance of the poems and passages thus infected be great 
or triding compared with the sound portion ; and, lastly, 
whether they are inwoven into the texture of his works, 
or are loose and separable. The result of such .i trial 
would evince, beyond a doubt, what it is high time to aa- 
no'juce decisively and aloud, that the supposed character- 
istics of Mr Wordsworth's poetry, whether admired or 
reprobated ; whether they are simplicity or simplenv-^ss ; 
faithful adherence to essential nature, or wilful selections 
from human nature of its meanest forms and under the 
least attractive associations ; are as little the real charac- 
teristics of his poetry at large, as of his genius and the 
constitution of his miud. 

In a comparatively small number of poems, he chose 
to try an experiment ; and this experiment we will sup- 
pose to have failed. Yet even in these poems it is im- 
possible not to perceive, that the natliral tendency of the 
poet's mind is to great objects and elevated conceptions. 
The poem entitled '* Fidelity," is, for the greater pj^rt, 


written in language as unraised and naked as any perhaps 
in the two vol :mes. Yet take the following stanza, and 
compare' it with the preceding stanzas of the same 
poem : 

*' There sometimes does a leaping- fish 
Bend through the tarn a lonely cheer ; 
The crag-s repeat the Kaven's croak 
In symphony anstere ; 
Thither the rainhoir comes — the cloud, 
And mists that spread the flying shroud ; 
And sun-beams : and the sounding blast, 
That if it could Would hurry past, 
But that enormous barrier binds it fast." 

Or compare the four last lines of the concluding stan- 
za with the former half : 

** Yet proof vvas plain that since the day 
On which the traveller thus had died, 
The dog had watch'd about the spot, 
Or by his master's side : 
How nourish' d there for such long time 
He knows who gave that love svbfime^ 
And gave that strength of feeling great 
Above all human eHimale, 

Can any candid and intelligent mind hesitate in deter- 
mining, which of these best represents the tendency and 
native character of the poet's genius ; Will he not de- 
cide that the one was written because the poet would so 
write, and the other because he could not so entirely re- 
press the force and grandeur of his mind, but that he 
must in some part or other of every composition write 
otherwise ? In short, that his only disease is the being 
out of his element ; like the swan, that having amused 
himself, for a while, with crushing the weeds on the 
river's bank, soon returns to his own majestic move- 
ments on its reflecting and sustaining surface. Let 
it be observed, that I am here supposing the imagined 
judge, to whom I appeal, to have already decided against 
the poet's theory, as far as it is different from the prin- 
ciples of the art, generally acknowledged. 

I cannot here enter into a detailed examination of Mr. 
Wordsworth's works ; but 1 will attempt to give the 


tnain results of my own judgment, after an acquaintance 
of many y6ars, and repeated perusals. And though, to 
appreciate the defects of a great mind, it is necessary to 
understand previously its characteristic excellences, yet 
1 have already expressed myself with sufficient fulness, 
to preclude most of the ill effects that might arise from 
my pursuing a contrary arrangement. I will therefore 
commence with what I deem the prominent defects of his 
poems hitherto pubhshed 

The first characteristic^ though only occasional, defect, 
which I appear to myself to find in those poems is the 
INCONSTANCY of the stylc. Under this name I refer to 
the sudden and unprepared transitions from lines or sen- 
tences of peculiar felicity, (at all events striking and ori- 
ginal) to a style, not only unimpassioned but undistin- 
guished. He sinks too often and too abruptly to that 
style which I should place in the second division of lan- 
guage, dividing it into the three species ; Jirst, that which 
is pecular to poetry ; second, that which is only proper 
in prose ; and, third , the neutral, or common ta both. 
There have been works, such as Cowley's essay on 
Cromwell, in which prose and verse are intermixed (not 
as in the Consolation of Boetius or the Argenis of Bar- 
clay, by the insertion of poems, supposed to have been 
spoken or composed on occasions previously related in 
prose, but) the poet passing from one to the other, as 
the nature of his thoughts or his own feelings dictated. 
Yet this mode of composition does not satify a cultivated 
taste. There is something unpleasant in the being thus 
obliged to alternate states of feeling so dissimilar, and this 
too in a species of writing, the pleasure from which is in 
part derived from the preparation and previous expect- 
ation of the reader. A portion of that awkwardness is 
felt which hangs upon the introduction of so^^^s in our 
modern comic operas ; and to prevent which the judi- 
cious Metastasio (as to whose exquisite taste there can be 
no hesitation, whatever doubts may be entertained as to 
his poetic genius) uniformly placed the aria at the end 
of the scene, at the same time that he almost always 
raises and impassions the style of the recitative immedi- 
ately preceding. Even in real life, the difference is great 
and evident between words used a^ the arbitrary marks 
a£ thought^ oui^sBiootli market-coin of intercourse with^ 



the image and superscription worn out by cui*rency, and 
those which convey pictures, either borrowed from oiie 
outward object to enliven and particularize some other ; 
or used allegorically to body forth the inward state of the 
person speaking ; or such as are at least the exponents 
of his peculiar turn and unusual extent of faculty. So 
much so indeed, that in the social circles of private life 
we often find a striking use of the latter put a stop to 
the general flow of conversation, and by the excitement 
arising from concentered attention, produce a sort of 
damp and interruption for some minutes after. But in 
the perusal of works of literary art, we prepare ourselves 
for such language ; and the business of the writer, like 
that of a painter whose subject requires unusual splen- 
dour and prominence, is so to raise the lower and neu- 
tral tints that what in a different style would be the com- 
manding colours, are here used as the means of that gen- 
tle gradation requisite in order to produce the effect 
of a zn'hole. Where this is not achieved in a poem, the 
metre merely reminds the reader of his claims, in or- 
der to disappoint them ; and where this defect occurs 
frequently, his feelings are alternately startled by anti- 
climax and hyperclimax. 

I refer the reader to the exquisite stanzas cited for 
another purpose from the blind Highland Boy ; and 
then annex, as being, in my opinion, instances of this dzs- 
harmony in style, the two following : 

" And one, the rarest, was a shell. 
Which he, poor child^ had studied well : 
The shell of a green turtle, thin 
And hollow ; — you might sit therein, 
It was so wide and deep." 

*'^iOur Highland boy oft visited 
The house which held this prize, and led 
B}' choice or chance did thither come 
One day, when no one was at home, 
And found the door unbarred." 

Or page 172, vol. I. 

** 'Tis j:one forp^otten, let me do 

My best. There was a smile or two— 


I can remember them, I see 

The smiles worth all the world to me. 

Dt'ar Baby, I must lay thee down : - 

Thou Iroublesi, me v/ith strange alarms * 

Smiles hast thou, sweet ones of thine own ; 

I cannot keep thee in my arms. 

For they confound me : as it is, 

I have forgot those smiles of his ! 

Or page 269, vol. I. 

*' Thou hast a nest, for thy love and thy rest, 
And though httle troubled with sloth 
Drunken lark ! thou would'st be loth 
To be such a traveller as I. 

Happy, happy liver, 
JVith a soul as strong as a mountain river 
Pouring out praise to tlV ^^Imighty giver, 
Joy and jollity be with us both, 
Hearing thee or else some other, 

As merry a brother 
I on the earth will go plodding on 
By myself cheerfully till the day is done.-' 

The incongruity, which I appear to find in this pas- 
sage, is that of the two noble lines in italics with the 
preceding and following. So, vol. II. page 30. 

*• Close by a pond, upon the further side 
He stood alone , a minute's space I guess, 
I watch'd him. he continuing motionless ; 
To the pooPs further margin then I drew ; 
He being all the while before me full in view.'* 

Compare this with the repetition of the same image, 
jn the next stanza but two. 

*• And still as I drew near with gentle pace. 
Beside the little pond or moorish flood 
Motionless as a cloud the old man stood ; 
That heareth not the loud winds as the>^ call 
And moveth altogether, if it move at all." 

Or, lastly, the second of tbe three following stanza^^ 
compared both with the first and the third. 


My former thoughts returned, the fear that kills, 
And hope that is unwilling to be (ed ; 
Cold, pain, and labour, and all fleshly ills ; 
And mighty poets in their misery dead. 
But now, perplex'd by what the old man had said, 
My question eagerly did I renew, 
How is it that you live, and what is it you do ? 

He with a smile did then his tale repeat ; 

And said, that, gathering leeches far and wide 

He travelled : stirring thus about his feet 

The waters of the ponds wiiere they abide. 

*' Once I could meet with them on every side, 

^' But they have dwindled long by slow decay ; 

'' Yet still I persevere, and find them where I may." 

While he was talking thus, the lonely place. 

The old man's shape, and speech, all troubled me : 

In my mind's eye I seemed to see him pace 

About the weary moors continually, 

Wandering about alone and silently.'* 

Indeed, this fine poem is especially characteristic of the 
author. There is scarce a defect or excellence in his 
writings of which it would not present a specimen. But 
it would be unjust not to repeat that this defect is only 
occasional. From a careful reperusal of the two vo- 
lumes of poems, I doubt whether the objectionable pas- 
sages would amount in the whole to one hundred lines ; 
not the eighth part of the number of pages. In the Ex- 
cuRsiOxX the feeling of incongruity is seldom excited by 
the diction of any passage considered in itself, but by the 
sudden superiority of some other passage forming the 

The second defect I could generalize with tolerable 
accuracy, if the reader will pardon an uncouth and new- 
coined word. There is, I should soy, not seldom a mat- 
ter-of'factness in certain poems. This may be divided 
into, first, a laborious minuteness and fidelity in the re- 
presentation of objects, and their positions, as they ap- 
peared to the poet himself; secondly , the insertion of 
accidental circumstances, in order to the full explanation 
of his living characters, their dispositions and actions ; 
which circumstances might be necessary to establish the 
probability of a statement in real life, where nothing is 
taken for granted by the hearer, but appears superfluous' 


in poetry, where the reader is willing to believe for his 
own sake. To this accidentalitij 1 object, as contraveh- 
inj>; the essence of poetry, which Aristotle proniiounces 
to be (rTrsSaioTGTov ;<al (piXcc-cqDiKWTarov 7£voj, the most intense, 
■weighty, and philosophical product of human art ; adding, 
as the reason, that it is the most catholic and abstract. 
The following passage from Davenant's prefatory letter 
to Hobbs well expresses this truth. "When I consi- 
dered the actions which I meant to describe (those in- 
ferring the persons) I was again persuaded rather to 
choose those of a former age, than the present ; and in 
a century so far removed as might preserve me from their 
improper examinations, who know not the requisites of 
a poem, nor how much pleasure they lose (and even the 
pleasures of heroic poesy are not unprofitable) who take 
away the liberty of a poet, and fetter his feet in the 
shackles of an historian. For why should a poet doubt 
in story to mend the intrigues of Ibrtune by more de- 
lightful conveyances of probable iictions, because au- 
stere historians have entered into bond to truth ? An 
obligation, which were in poets as foolish and unneces- 
sary, as is the bondage of false martyrs, who lie in chains 
for a mistaken opinion. But by this I would imply, that 
truth, narrative and past, is the idol of historians (who wor- 
ship a dead thing) and truth operative, and by eff'ects con- 
tinually alive, is the mistress of poets, who hath not her 
existence in matter, but in reason.'''^ 

For this minute accuracy in the painting of local im- 
agery, the Hues in the Excursjon, p. 96, 97, and 98, may 
be taken, if not as a striking instance, yet as an illustra- 
tion of my meaning. It must be some strong motive (as, 
for instance, that the description was necessary to the 
intelligibility of the tale) which could induce me to de- 
scribe in a number of verses what a draftsman could pre- 
sent to the eye with incomparably greater saiisfactioa 
by half a dozen strokes of his pencil, or the painter with 
as many touches of his brush. Such descriptions too 
often occasion in the mind of a reader, who is determin- 
ed to understand his author, a feeling of labour, not very 
dissimilar to that with which he would construct a dia- 
gram, line by line, for a long geometrical proposition. 
\K seems to be liife taking the pieces of a dissected niap 
out of its box. We first look at one part, and then at 


another, then join and clove-tail them; and when the 
guccessive acts of attention have been completed, there 
is a retrogressive effort of mind to behold it as a whole. 
The Poet should paint to the imagination, not to the f;n- 
cy ; and I know no happier case to exemplify the dis- 
tinction between these two faculties. Master-pieces of 
the former mode of poetic painting abound in the writ- 
ings of Miltion, ex. gr. 

<' The fig tree, not that kind for fruit renown'd, 

•'But STJch as at this day to Indians known 

^' iL Malabar or Decan, spreads her arms 

" Branching so broad and long, that in the ground 

*' The bended twigs take root, and daughters grow 

*' About the mother-tree, a pi/Zar^d shade 

''' 11 ^gh over-arched, and echoing walks between; 

*■' There oft the Indian TJerd&man shunning: heat 

** Shelters in cool, and tends his pasturing herds 

** At loop holes cut through thicket shade.'' 

Milton, P. L. 9, 1100. 

This is creation rather than paintings or if painting, 
yet such, and with such co-presence of the whole pic- 
ture flash'd at once upon the eye, as the sun paints in a 
camera obscura. But the poet must likewise understand 
and command what Bacon calls the vestigia comnmnia of 
the senses, the latency of all in each, and more espe- 
cially, as by a magical penna duplex, the excitement of 
vision by sound and the exponents of sound, thus, " The 
ECHOING WALKS BETWEEN," may be almost said to reverse 
the fable in tradition of the head of Memnon, in the 
Eg3^ptian statue. Such may be deservedly entitled the 
creative words in the w^orld of imagination 

The second division respects an apparent minute ad- 
herence to matter -of 'fact in character and incidents ; a 
biographical attention to probability, and an anxiety of 
explanation and retrospect. Under this head I shall de- 
liver, with no feigned diffidence, the results of my best 
reflection on the great point of controversy between Mr. 
Wordsworth, and his objectors ; namely, on the choice 
OF HIS CHARACTERS. 1 havc already declared, and, I 
trust justified, my utter dissent from the mode of argument 
which his critics have liitherto employed. To their 
question, why did you choose such a character, or a cha- 


pacter from such a rank of life ? the Poet might, in my 
opinion, fairly retort: why, with the concen.^on of my 
character did you make wilful choice of mean or ludi- 
crous associations not furnished by me, but supplied from 
your own sickly and i^istidious feelings ? How was it, 
indeed, probable, that such arguments could have any 
weight with an author, whose plan, whose guiding prin- 
ciple and main object it was to attack and subdue that 
state of association, which leads us to place the chief 
value on those things on which man differs from man, 
and to forget or disregard the high dignities, which be- 
long to HUMAN NATURE, the seuse and the feeling, which 
may be, and ought to be, found in all ranks ? The feel- 
ings with which, as christians, we contemplate a mixed 
congregation rising or kneeling* before their common 
maker, Mr, Wordsworth would have us entertain at all 
times as men, and as readers ; and by the excitement of 
this lofty, yet prideless impartiality in poetry, he might 
hope to have encouraged its continuance in real life. 
The praise of good men be his ! In real hfe, and, I 
trust, even in my imagination, 1 honour a virtuous and 
wise man, without reference to the presence or absence 
of artificial advantages. Whether in the person of an 
armed baron, a laurel'd bard, &c. or of an old pedlar, ^ 
still older leach-gatherer, the same qualities of head and 
heart must claim the same reverence. And even in po- 
etry I am not conscious that I have ever suffered my 
feelings to be disturbed or offended by any thoughts or 
images, which the poet himself has not presented. 

But yet I object, nevertheless, and for the following 
reasons : First, because the object in view, as an inime" 
diate object, belongs to the moral philosopher, and would 
be pursued, not only more appropriately, but in my 
opinion with far greater probability of success, in ser- 
mons or moral essays, than in an elevated poem. It 
seems, indeed, to destroy the main fundamental distinc- 
tion, not only between a poem and prose^ but even be- 
tween philosophy and works of fiction, inasmuch as it 
proposes truth for its immediate object, instead of plea- 
sure. Now, till the blessed time shall come, when truth 
itself shall be pleasure, and both shall be so united as to 
be distinguishable in words only, not in feeling, it will 
remaia the poet's office to proceed upon that state of as- 


-ociation which actually exists as general, instead of ati 
tempting- tir^t to make it what it ouii^ht lO be, and then t4 
let the pleasure follow. But here is unfortunately 
small Hysteron-Froteron, For the communication of plea 
sure is the introductory means by which alone the p06 
must expect to moralize his readers. Secondly : thoug 
I were to admit, for a moment, this argument to bJ 
groundless, yet, how is the moral effect to be produceo 
by merely att-iching the name of some low profession 
powers which are least likely, and to qualities which ar 
assuredly not ?nore likely, to be found in it ? The poe^ 
speaking in his own person, may at once delight and im- 
prove us by sentiments, whicn teach us the independence 
of goodness, of wisdom, and even of genius, on the fa- 
vours of fortune. And having made a due reverence be- 
fore the throne of Antonine, he may bow with equal awe 
before Epictetus among his fellow-slaves — 

: _«._ »' and rejoice 

In the plain presence of his dignity." 

Who is not at once delighted and improved, when the 
POET Wordsworth himself exclaims, 

*' O many are the poets that are sown 
By Nature ; men endowed with highest gifts, 
The vision send the faculty divine. 
Yet wanting the accomplishment of verse, 
Nor having e'er as life advanced, been led 
By circumstance to take unto the height 
The measure of themselves, these favour'd beings, 
All but a scattered few, live out their time 
Husbanding that which they possess within. 
And go to the grave unthought of. Strongest minds 
Are often those of whom the noisy world 
Hears least." 

Excursion, B. I. 

To use a colloquial phrase, such sentiments in such lan- 
guage, do one's heart good ; though 1, for my part, have 
not the fullest faith in the truth of the observation. On 
the contrary, 1 beheve the instances to be exceedingly 
rare ; and should feel almost as strong an objection to 
introduce such a character in a poetic fiction, as a i>air 
of black swans on a lake, in a fancy-landscape. When I 


think how many, and how much better books than Ho- 
mer, or even than Herodotus, Pindar or Eschjlus, could 
have read, are in the power of almost every man, in a 
country where almost every man is instructed to read 
and write ; and how restless, how difficultly hidden, the 
powers of genius are ; and yet find even in situations 
the most favourable, according to Mr. Wordsworth, for 
the formation of a pure and poetic language ; in situa- 
tions which ensure familiarity with the grandest objects 
of the imagination ; but one Burns, among the shepherds 
of Scotland, and not a single poet of humble life among 
those of English lakes and mountains ; I conclude, that 
Poetic Genius is not only a very delicate but a very 
jare plant. 

But be this as it may, the feelings with which, 

** I think of Chatterton, the marvellous boy, 
The sleepless soul, that perish'd in his pride : 
Of Burns, that walk'd in glory and in joy 
Behind his plough upon the mountain-side" — 

are widely different from those with which I should read 
a poem^ where the author, having occasion for the cha- 
racter of a poet and a philosopher in the fable of his nar- 
ration, had chosen to make him a chimney sweeper ; and 
then, in order to remove all doubts on the subject, had 
invented an account of his birth, parentage, and educa- 
tion, with all the strange and fortunate accidents which 
had concurred in making him at once poet, philosopher, 
and sweep I Nothing but biography can justify this. If 
h be admissible even in a Novell it must be one in the 
manner of De Foe's, that were meant to pass for histories, 
not in the manner of Fielding's ; in the life of Moll Flan- 
ders, or Colonel Jack, not in a Tom Jones, or even a Jo- 
seph Andrews. Much less, then, can it be legitimately- 
introduced in a poem, the characters of which, amid the 
strongest individualization, must still remain representa- 
tive. The precepts of Horace, on this point, are ground- 
ed on the nature both of poetry and of the human mind. 
They are not more peremptory than wise and prudent* 
For, in the first place, a deviation^ from them perplexes 
the reader's feelings, and all the circumstances which are 
feigned, in order to make such accidents less improbable, 
Vot. II. 9 


divide and disquiet his faith, rather than aid and support 
it. Spite of all attempts, the fiction -ivill appear, and, un- 
fortunately, not zsjictidous^ but diS false. The reader not 
only knows, that the sentiments and language are the 
poet's own, and his own too, in his artificial character as 
poei ; but, by the fruitless endeavours to make him think 
the contrary, he is not even suffered to forget it. The 
effect is similar to that produced by an epic poet, when 
the fable and the characters are derived from Scripture 
history, as in the Messiah of Klopstock, or in Cumber^ 
land's Calvary ; and not merely suggested by it as in the 
Paradise Lost of Milton. That illusion, contradistin- 
guished from delusion, that negative faith which simply 
permits the images presented to work by their ow^n force, 
without either denial or affirmation of their real existence 
by the judgment, is rendered impossible by their imme- 
diate neighbourhood to words and facts of known and ab- 
solute truth. A faith which transcends even historic be- 
lief, must absolutely put out this mere poetic A»alagon 
of faith, as the summer sun is said to extinguish our 
household fires when it shines full upon them. What 
would otherwise have been yielded to as pleasing fiction, 
is repelled as revolting falsehood. The effect produced 
in this latter case by the solemn belief of the reader, is 
in a less degree brought about, in the instances to which 
I have been objecting, by the baffled attempts of the au- 
thor to make him believe. 

Add to all the foregoing, the seeming uselessness both 
of the project and of the anecdotes from which it is to 
derive support. Is there one word, for instance, attri- 
buted to the pedlar in the Excursion, characteristic of a 
pedlar? One sentiment that might not more plausibly, 
even without the aid of any previous explanation, have 
proceeded from any wise and beneficent oW man, of a 
rank or j-rofession in which the language of learning and 
refinement are Jiatural, and to be expected ? Need the 
rank have been at all particularized, where nothing fol- 
lows which the knowledge of that rank is to explain or 
illustrate ? When, on the contrary, this information ren- 
ders the man's language, feelings, sentiments, and infor- 
mation, a riddle which must itself be solved by episodes 
of anecdote ? Finally, when this, and this alone, could 
have induced a genuine poet to inweave in a poem of the 


loftiest style, and on subjects the loftiest and of most 
universal interest, such minute matters of fact, (not un- 
like those furnished for the obituary of a magazine by 
the friends of some obscure ornament of society lately de- 
ceased in some obscure town, as, 

*' Among' the hills of Athol he was born. 
There, on a small hereditary farm, 
An unproductive slip of rugged ground, 
His Father dwelt, and died, in poverty ; 
While he, whose lowly fortune I retrace, 
1 iie youngest of three sons, was yet a babe, 
A lUlle oae^-unconscious of their loss. 
But *ere he had outgrown his infant days, 
His widow'd mother, for a second mate. 
Espoused the teacher of the Village School ; 
Who on her offspring zealously bestowed 
Needful instruction." 

" From his sixth year, the boy of whom I speak, 

In summer, tended cattle on the hills ; 

But through the inclement and the perilous days 

Of long-continuing winter, he repaired 

To his step-father's school." — &o. 

For all the admirable passages interposed in this nar- 
ration, might, with trifling alterations, have been far more 
appropriately, and with far greater verisimilitude, told of 
a poet in the character of a poet ; and without incurring 
another defect which I shall now mention, and a sufficient 
illustration of which will have been here anticipated. 

Third ; an undue predilection for the dramatic form in 
certain poems, from which one or other of two evils re- 
sult. Cither the thoughts and diction are different from 
that of the poet, and then there arises an incongruity of 
style ; or they are the same and indistinguishable, and 
then it presents a species of ventriloquism, where two are 
represented as talking^ while, in truth, one man only 

The fourth class of defects is closely connected with 
the former; but yet are such as arise likewise from an 
intensity of feeling disproportionate to such knowledge 
and value of the objects described; as can be fairly anti- 
cipated of men in general, even of the most cultivated 
classes; and with which, therefore, few only, and those 


lew particularly circumstanced, can be supposed to sym^ 
pathise. In this class I comprise occasional prolixity,! 
repetition, and an eddying instead of progression of 
thought. As instances, see page 27, 28, and 62, of the 
Poems, Vol. I., an«l the first eighty lines of the Sixth 
Book of the Excursion. 

Fifth, and last ; thoughts and images too great for the 
subject. This is an approximation to what might be 
called mental bombast, as distinguished from verbal ; 
for, as in the latter, there is a dispro[)ortion of the expres- 
sions to the thoughts, so, in this, there is a disproportion 
of thou;^,ht to the circumstance and occasion. This, by- 
th^ by, is a fault of which none but a man of geniun is 
capable. It is the awkwardness and strength of Hercules 
with the distaff of Omphale. 

It is a well-known fact, that bright colours in motion 
both make and leave the strongest impressions on the 
eye. Nothing is more likely, too, than that a vivid image, 
or visual spectrum, thus originated, may become the link 
of association in recalling the feelings and images ihat 
had accompanied the original impression. But, if we 
tlescribe this in such lines as 

" They flash upon that inward eye^ 
Which is the bliss of solitude !" 

in w^hat words shall we describe the joy of retrospection, 
when the images and virtuous actions of a whole well- 
spent life, pass before that conscience which is, indeed, 
the inward eye ; which is, indeed, the ** bliss of solitude ?^^ 
Assuredly we seem to sink most abruptly, not to say bur- 
iesquely, and almost as in a medly from this couplet to — 

" And then my heart with pleasure fills, 

And dances with the daffodils,'^' Vol. I., p. 320. 

The second instance is from Vol. II., page 12, where 
the poet, having gone out for a day's tour of pleasure, 
meets, early in the morning, with a knot of gypsies^ who 
had pitched their blanket tents and straw-beds, together 
with their children and asses, in some field by the road- 
side. At the close of the day, on his return, our tourist 
found them in the same place. *' Twelve hours," says he. 


*'• Twelve hours, twelve bounteous hours, are gone while I 
Have been a traveller under open sk}', 
IVluch witnessing" of cbang-e and cheer, 
Yet as I left I find them here !" 

Whereat the poet, without seeming to reflect that the 
poor tawny wanderers might probably have been tramp- 
ing, for weeks together, through road lane, over moor and 
mountain, and, consequently, must have been right glad 
to rest themselves, their children, and cattle, for one 
whole day ; and overlooking the obvious truth, that such 
repose m.ight be quite as necessary for them as a walk 
of ihe same continuance was pleasing or healthful for the 
more fortunate poet ; expresses his indignation in a se- 
ries of lines, the diction and imagery of which would 
have been rather above than below the mark, had they 
been applied to the immense empire of China, impro- 
gressive for thirty centuries : 

" The weary Sun betook himself to rest. 

Then issued Vesper from the fulgent west» 

Outshining, like a visible God, 

The glorious path in which he trod ! 

And now ascending, after one dark hour. 

And one night's diminution of her power. 

Behold the mighty Moon ! this way 

She looks, as if at them— but they 

Regard not her — Oh, better wrong and strife,^ 

Better vain deeds or evil than such life ! 

The silent Heavens have goings on : 

The Stars have tasks ! — but these have none !'* 

The last instance of this defect, (for I know no other 
than these already cited,) is from the Ode, page 351, 
Vol. II., where, speaking of a child, ' a six year's dar- 
ling of a pigmy size," he thus addresses him : 

*' Thou best philosopher, who yet dost keep 
Thy heritage ! Thou eye among the blind. 
That, deaf and silent, read'st the eternal deep; 
Haunted for ever by the Eternal Mind- 
Mighty Prophet ! Seer blest ! 
On whom those truths do rest, ^ 
Which we are toiling all our lives to find I 
Thou, over whom thy immortality 


Broods like the day, a master o'er the slav^ 
A presence that is not to be put by !*' 

Now here, not to stop at the daring spirit of metaphor 
which connects the epithets ''deat'and silent/' with the 
apostrophized eye : or (if we are to refer it to the pre- 
ceding word, philosopher,) the faulty and equivocal syn- 
tax of the passage ; and without examining the propriety | 
of making a *' master 6rooc? o'er a slave," or the day 1 
hrood at all ; we will merely ask, what does aM this 
mean ? In what sense is a child of that age a philoso- 
pher / In what sense does he read ""the eternal deep?" 
In what sense is he declared to be ''for ever haunted by 
the Supreme Beins: ?*' or so inspired as to deserve the 
splendid lilies of a jiu'ghty prophet, sl blessed seer / By 
ret^ection ? by knowledge ? by conscious intuition ? or by 
any form or inoditication of consciousness?'* Tbese 
would be tidings indeed ; but, such as would pre-suppose 
an immediate revelation to the inspired communicator, 
2nd require miracles to authenticate his inspiration. 
Children, at this age, give us no such intormation of them- 
selves ; and at what time were we dipt in the Lethe, 
\Thich has produced such utter oblision of a state so god- 
like ? There are Oiany of us that still possess some re- 
membrances, more or less distinct, respecting themselves 
at six years old ; pity that the worthless straws only 
should float, while treasures, compared with which all the 
mines of Golconda and Mexico were but straws, should 
be absorbed by some unknown gulf into some unknown 

But if this be too wild and exorbitant to be suspected 
as having been the poet's meaning ; if these mysterious 
gi-fts, faculties, and operations, are no: accomp.mied with 
consciousness ; who else is conscious of them ? or how 
can it be ciUled the child, if it be no part of the child's 
conscious being ? For aught I know, the thinking Spirit 
T\ithin me may be substamially one with the princi}>le of 
life, and of vital operation. For aught I know, it may be 
emploved as a secondary agent in the marvellous organi- 
zation and organic movements of my body. But, surely, 
it would be strauiie language to say. that / construct 
my heart ! or that / propel the finer intluences through 
my nenesJ or that /compress my brain, and draw the 


curtains of sleep round my own eyes ! Spinoza and Beh- 
MEN were, on different systems, both Pantheists ; and 
among the ancients there were philosophers, teachers 
of the EN K \I TIaNj w^ho not only taught, that God was 
All, but that this All constituted God. Yet not even 
these would confound the part^ as a part with the whole, 
as the whole. Nay, in no system is the distinction be- 
tween the individual and God, between the Modification, 
and the one only Substance, more sharply drawn, than 
in that of Spinoza. Jacobi, indeed, relates of Lessing, 
that after a conversation with him at the house of the 
poet, Gleim, (the Tyrtaeus and Anacreon of the Ger- 
man Parnassus,) in which conversation L. had avowed 
privately to Jacobi his reluctance to admit any personal 
existence of the Supreme Being, or the possibility of per- 
sonality except in a finite Intellect, and while they were 
sitting at table, a shower of rain came on unexpectedly,- 
Gleim expressed his regret at the circumstance, because 
they had meant to drink their wine in the garden ; upon 
which Lessing, in one of his half-earnest, half-joking 
moods, nodded to Jacobi, and said, '* It is /, perhaps, that 
am doing i/ia^," i. e. raining ! and J. answered, " or 
perhaps I ;" Gleim contented himself with staring at 
them both, without asking for any explanation. 

So with regard to this passage. In what sense can 
the magnificent attributes, above quoted, be appropriated 
to a child, which would not make them equally suitable 
to a bee, or a dog, or afield of corn ; or even to a ship, 
or to the wind and waves that propel it ? The omni 
present Spirit works equally in them, as in the child ; 
and the child is equally unconscious of it as they. It 
cannot surely be, that the four lines, immediately follow- 
iug, are to contain the explanation ? 

*' To whom the grave 
Is but a lonely bed without the sense or j-Ight 

Of day or ilie warm light, 
A place of thought where we in waitiug lie.'* 

Surely, it cannot be that this wonder-rousing apostro- 
phe is but a comment on the little poem of '' We are 
Seven ?" that the whole meaning of the passage is redu- 
cible to the assertion, that a child, who by the bye at six 


years old would have been better instructed in most 
christian families, has no other notion of death than that 
of lying in a dark, cold place ? And still, I hope, not as 
in a place of thought ! not the frightful notion of lying 
awake in his grave ! The analogy between death and sleep 
is too simple, too natural, to render so horrid a belief 
possible for children ; even had they not been in the 
habit, as all christian children are, of hearing the latter 
term used to express the former. But if the child's 
belief be only, that '* he is not dead, but sleepeth ;" 
wherein does it differ from that of his father and mother, 
or any other adult and instructed person ? To form an 
idea of a thing's becoming nothing, or of nothing beco- 
ming a thing, is impossible to all finite beings alike, of 
whatever age, and however educated or uneducated. 
Thus it is with splendid paradoxes in general. If the 
words are taken in the common sense, they convey an 
absurdity ; and if, in contempt of dictionaries and custom, 
they are so interpreted as to avoid the absurdity, the 
meaning dwindles into some bald truism. Thus you 
must at once understand the words coiitrary to their com- 
mon import, in order to arrive at any sense ; and accor- 
ding to their common import, if you are to receive from 
them any feeling oi suhlimity or admiration. 

Though the instances of this defect in Mr. Words- 
worth's poems are so i^e^w^ that for themselves it would 
have been scarcely just to attract the reader's attention 
toward them ; yet 1 have dwelt on it, and perhaps the 
more for this very reason. For being so very few, they 
cannot sensibly detract from the reputation of an author, 
who is even characterized by the number of profound 
truths in his writings, which will stand the severest analy- 
sis ; and yei, few as they are, they are exactly those 
passages which his blind admirers would be most likely 
and best able, to imitate. But Wordsworth, where he 
is indeed Wordsworth, may be mimicked by copyists, 
he may be plundered by pagiarists ; but he can not be 
imitated, except by those who are not born to be imitators. 
For without his depth of feeling and his imaginative pow- 
er, his sense would want its vital warmth and peculiarity ; 
and without his strong sense, his mysticism would become 
sickly — mere fog and dimness ! 


To these defects, which, as appears by the extracts, 
are only occasional, i may oppose, with far less fsar of 
encounterini^ the dissent of any candid and intellii^ent 
reader, the following (for the most part correspondent) 
excellencies. First, an austere purity of language, both 
grammatically and logically ; in short, a perfect appro- 
priateness of the words to the meaning. Of how high 
value I deem this, and how particularly estimable I hold 
the example at the present day, has been already stated : 
and in part, too, the reasons on which 1 ground both the 
moral and intellectual importance of habituating ourselves 
to a strict accuracy of expression. It is noticeable, how 
limited an acquaintance with the masterpieces of art will 
suffice to form a correct, and even a sensitive taste, 
where none but master-pieces have been seen and ad- 
mired : while, on the other hand, the most correct no- 
tions, and the widest acquaintance with the works of 
excellence of all ages and countries, will not perfectly 
secure us against the contagious familiarity with the far 
more numerous ofTspring of tastelessness or of a pervert- 
ed taste. If this be the case, as it notoriously is, with 
the arts of music and painting, much more difficult will 
it be to avoid the infection of multiplied and daily 
examples in the practice of an art, which uses words, 
and words only, as its instruments. In poetry, in which 
every line, every phrase, may pass the ordeal of dehbe- 
ration and deliberate choice, it is possible, and barely 
possible, to attain that ultimatum which I have ventured 
to propose as the infallible test of a blameless style : 
namely, its untranslatahleness in words of the same 
language without injury to the meaning. Be it observed, 
however, that I include in the meaning of a word not 
only its correspondent object, but likewise all the asso- 
ciations which it recalls. For language is framed to con- 
vey not the object alone, but likewise the character, 
mood, and intentions of the person who is representing 
it. In poetry it is practicable to preserve the diction, 
uncorrupted by the aflectations and misappropiiations, 
which promiscuous authorship, and reading not promis- 
cuous, onl}^ because it is disproportioualiy most conver- 
sant with the compositions of the day, have rendered 
general. Yet, even to the poet, composing in his own 
province, it is an arduous work : and as the result and 


pledi^e of a watchful good sense, of tine and lumino 
distinction, and of complete self-possession, may justly 
claim all the hononr which belongs to an attainment 
equally difficult and valuable, and the more - aluable for 
being rare. It is at all times the proper food of the un- 
derstanding ; but, in an age of corrupt eloquence, it is 
both food and antidote. 

In prose, I doubt whether it be even possible to pre- 
serve our style, v*^holly unalloyed by the vicious phrase- 
elogy which meets us every where, from the sermon to 
the newspaper, from the harangue of the legislator to the 
speech from the convivial chair, announcing a toast or 
sentiment. Our chains rattle, even v*^hile we are com- 
plaining of them. The poems of Boetius rise high in our 
estimation when we compare them with those of his con- 
temporaries, as Sidonius Apollinaris, &c. They might 
even be referred to a purer age, but that the prose in 
which they are set as jewels in a crown of lead or iron, 
betrays the true age of the writer. Much, however, 
juay be effected by education. I believe, not only from 
grounds of reason, but from having, in great measure, as- 
sured myself of the fact by actual though limited expe- 
rience, that, to a youth, led from his first boyhood to in- 
vestigate the meaning of every word, and the reason of 
its choice and position, logic presents itself as an old ac- 
quaintance under new names. 

On some future occasion more especially demanding 
such disquisition, I shall attempt to prove the close con- 
nection between veracity and habits of mental accuracy ; 
the beneficial after-eflects of verbal precision in the pre- 
clusion of fanaticism, which masters the feelings more 
especially by indistinct watch-words ; and to display the 
advantages which language alone, at least which language 
with incomparably greater ease and certainty than any 
other means, presents to the instructor of impressing 
modes of intellectual energy so constantly, so impercep- 
tibly, and, as it were, by such elements and atoms as to 
secure in due time the formation of a second nature. 
When we reflect, that the cultivation of the judg- 
ment is a positive command of the moral law, since the 
reason can give the principle alone, and the conscience 
bears witness only to the motive^ while the application 
and effects must depend on the judgment ; when we con- 
sider, that the greater part cf our success and comfort 


in life depemls on distinguishing the similar from the 
same, that which is pecuhar -in each thing from that 
which it has in common with others, so as still to select 
the most probable, instead of the merely possible or 
positively unfit, we shall learn to value earnestly, and 
with a practical seriousness, a mean already prepared for 
us by nature and- society, of teaching the young mind to 
think well and wisely by the same unremembered process, 
and with the same never forgotten results, as those by 
w^hich it is taught to speak aud converse. Now, how 
much v/armer the interest, how much more genial the 
feelings of reality and practicability, and thence how much 
stronger the impulses to imitation are, which a contem- 
2^orary writer, and especially acontempory poe/J, excites 
in youth and commencing manhood, has been treated of in 
the earlier pages of these sketches. I have only to add, 
that all the praise which is due to the exertion of such 
influence for a purpose so important, joined with that 
which riiust be claimed for the infrequency of the same 
excellence in the same perfection, belongs in full ri^ht 
to Mr. Wordsworth. I am far, however, from den}^- 
ing that we have poets whose general style possesses the 
same excellence as Mr. Moore, Lord Byron, Mr. Bowles, 
and, in all his later and more important works, our lau- 
rel-honouring Laureate. But there are none, in whose 
works I do not appear to myself to find more excep- 
tions than in those of Wordsworth. Quotations or 
specimens would here be wholly out of place, and must 
be left for the critic who doubts and would invalidate 
the justice of this eulogy so applied. 

The second characteristic excellence of Mr. W's 
works is, a correspondent wiight and sanity of the 
thoughts and sentiments — won, not from books, but — 
from the poet's own meditative observation. They are 
fresh, and have the dew upon them. His muso, at least 
when in her strength of wing, and when she hovers 
aloft in her proper element, 

Makes audible a linked lay of truth, 

Of truth profound a sweet continuous lay, 

Not learnt, but native, her own natural notes ! 

S. T. C. 


Even throughout his smaller poems there is scarce! 
one wliich is not rendered valuable by some just an(3l 
ori2;in'l reilection. 

See pa^e 26, vol. 2nd ; or the two following passages 
In one of his humblest compositions. 

*' O Reader ! had you in 5our mind 
Such stores as silent thought can bring, 
O gentle Hearder 1 yuu would find 
A tale in every thing." 

*' T have heard of hearts unkind, kind deeds 
With coldness still returning : 
Alas! the gratitude of men 
Has oftener left me mourning." 

or in a still higher strain the six beautiful quatrains, 
page 134. 

" Thus fares it still in our decay : 
And yet the wiser mind 
Mourns less for what age takes away 
Than what it leaves behind. 

The Blackbird in the summer trees, 
The lark upon the hill, 
Let loose their carols when they pleas^e, 
Are quiet when the}' will. 

With nature never do they wage 
A foolish strife ; they see 
A happy youth, and their old age 
Is beautiful and free ! 

But we are pressed by heavy laws ; 
And often, glad no more. 
We wear a face of joy, because | 

We have been glad of yore. 

If there is one, who need bemoan 
His kindred laid in earth, 
The household hearts that were his own, 
It is the man of mirth. 

My days, my Friend, are almost gone, 
My life has been approved. 
And many love me ; but by none 
Am I enough beloved." 


t>r the sonnet on Bonaparte, page 202, vol. 2 ; or finally^ 
(for a volume would scarce suffice to exhaust the instan- 
ces,) the last stanza of the poem on the withered Celan- 
dine, vol. 2, p. 212. 

To be a prodigal's favourite— then, worse truth, 
A miser's pensioner— behold our lot ' 
Oh man ! that from thy fair and shining youth 
Age might but take the things, youth needed not." 

Both in respect of this and of the former excellence^ 
Mr. Wordsworth strikingly resembles Samuel Daniel, 
one of the golden writers of our golden Elizabethian age, 
now most causelessly neglected : Samuel Daniel, whose 
diction bears no mark of time, no distinction of age, 
which has been, and as long as our language shall last, 
will be, so far the language of the to-day and for ever, as 
that it is more intelligible to us than the transitory fash- 
ions of our own particular age. A similar praise is due 
to his sentiments. No frequency of perusal can deprive 
them of their freshness. For though they are brought 
into the full day-hght of every reader's comprehension ; 
yet are they drawn up from depths which few in any age 
are privileged to visit, into which few in any age have 
courage or inclination to descend. If Mr. Wordsworth 
is not equally with Daniel alike intelligible to all readers 
of average understanding in all passages of his works, the 
comparative difficulty does not arise from the greater im- 
purity of the ore, but from the nature and uses of the 
metal. A poem is not necessarily obscure, because 
it does not aim to be popular. It is enough, if a work be 
perspicuous to those for whom it is written, and, 

'* Fit audience find, though few." 

To the ** Ode on the intimation of immortality from 
recollections of early childhood," the poet might have 
prefixed the lines which Dante addresses to one of his 
own Canzoni — 

" Canzon, io credo, cbe saranno radi 
Che tua ragione intendan bene : 
Tanto lor sei faticoso ed alto." 
Vol. II. 10 


" lyric song, there will be few, think I, 
Who may thy import understand arig-ht : 
Thou art for them so arduous and so high ! 

But the ode was intended for such readers only as ha^ 
been accustomed to watch the flux and reflux of their in- 
most nature, to venture at times into the twilight realms 
of consciousness, and to feel a deep interest in modes of 
inmost being, to which they know that the attributes of 
time and space are inapplicable and alien, but which yet 
cannot be conveyed, save in simbols of time and space. 
For such readers the sense is sufficiently plain, and they ' 
will be as little disposed to charge Mr. Wordsworth with 
believing the platonic pre-existence in the ordinary in- 
terpretation of the words, as I am to believe that Plato 
himself ever meant or taught it. 

— voj coxia (itX-n 
■Ev5ov £VTi qraphpaf 
Owvavra cruvErorcriV CJ 
Ai TO rrav tp/iTivtcoj 
Xari^fi. Xlo(p»s 6 voK" 
— Kah5oi (pua* 
Ma^ovTfj 5f, Attpfoj 
• ITa77A.iocro-ia, xopaxf i u9 

'AkfavTa ya^virov 
Aioj TT^oj Of v(xa ^£rov. 

Third ; (and wherein he soars far above Daniel ;) the 
sinewy strength and originality of single lines and para- 
graphs : the frequent curiosa fehcitas of his diction, of 
which I need not here give specimens, having anticipated 
them in a preceding page. This beauty, and as emi- 
nently characteristic of Wordsworth's poetry, his rudest 
assailants have felt themselves compelled to acknowledge 
and admire. 

Fourth ; the perfect truth of nature in his images and 
descriptions, as taken immediately from nature, and pro- 
ving a long and genial intim icy with the very spirit 
which £;ives the physiognomic expression to all the 
works of nature. Like a green field reflected in a calm 
and perfectly transparent lake, the image is distinguished 
from the reality only by its greater softness and lustre. 
Like the moisture or the polish on a pebble, genius 
neither distorts nor false-colours its objects ; but, on the 
contrary > brings out many a vein and many a tint, which 


escape the eye of common observation, thus raisings 
to the rank of gems what had been often kicked away by 
the hurrying foot of the traveller on the dusty high road 
of custom. 

Let me refer to the whole description of skating, vol. 
I, page 42 to 47, especially to the lines, 

*• So through the darkness and the cold we flew, 
And not a voice was idle : with the din 
Meanwhile the precipices rang aloud ; 
The leafless trees and every icy crag 
Tinkled like iron ; while the distant hills 
Into the tumult sent an alien sound 
Of melanc holly, not unnoticed, while Ae stars 
Eastward were sparkling clear, and in the west 
The orange sky of evening died away," 

Or to the poem on the green linnet, vol. I. p. 244. 
What can be more accurate, yet more lovely, than tb^ 
two concluding stanzas ? 

'* Upon yon tuft of hazel trees, 
That twinkle to the gusty breeze^ 
Behold him perched in ecstacies, 

Yet seeming still to hover, 
There ! where the flutter of his wings 
Upon his back and body flings 
Shadows andsuny glimmerings 

That cover him all over. 
While thus before my eyes he gleam's, 
A brother of the leaves he seems ; 
When in a moment forth he teems 

His little song in gushes : 
As if it pleased him to disdain 
And mock the form when he did feign 
While he was dancing with the train 

Of leaves among the bushes." 

Or the description of the blue cap, and of the noon- 
tide silence, p. 284 ; or the poem to the cuckoo, page 
299 ; or, lastly, though I might multiply the references 
to ten times the number, to the poem so completely 
Wordsworth's, commencing 

^* Three years she grew in sun and shower,*' &e. 


Fifth ; a meditative pathos, a union of deep and subtle' 
thougnt \rith sensibility ; a sympathy with man as man ; ■ 
the sympathy indeed of a contemplator, rather than a fel- 
low sufferer or co-mate, (spectator baud particeps) but ofl 
a contemplator, from whose view no difference of rank 
conceals the sameness of the nature ; no injuries of wind 
or weather, of toil, or even of ignorance, wholly disguise 
the human face divine. The superscription and the im- 
age of the Creator still remain legible to him under the 
dark lines witb which guilt or calamity had cancelled or 
cross-barred it. Here the man and *^y poet lose an(J 
find themselves in each other, the one as glorified, the 
latter as substantiated. In this mikf and philosophic pa- 
thos, Wordsworth appears to me without a compeer. 
Such he ts : so he writes. See vol. 1 page 134 to 136, 
or that most affecting composition, the '* Affliction of Mar- 
garet — —of ," page 165 to 168, w^hich no mother, 

and, if I may judge by my own experience, no parent can 
read without a tear. Or turn to that genuine lyric, in 
the former edition, entitled, the " Mad Mother," page 
174 to 178, of which I cannot refrain from quoting two of 
the stanzas, both of them for their pathos, and the former 
for the fine transition in the two concluding lines of the 
stanza, so expressive of that deranged state, in which, 
from the increased sensibility, the sufferer's attention is 
abruptly drawn off by every trifle, and in the same instant 
plucked back again by the one despotic thought, and 
bringing home with it, by the blending, fusing power of 
Imagination and Passion, the alien object to which it had 
been so abruptly diverted, no longer an alien, but an ally 
and an inmate. 

^* Suck, little babe, oh suck again f 
It cools my blood ; it cools my brain : 
Thy lips, I feel them, baby ! they 
Draw from my heart the pain away. 
Oh ! press me with thy httie h^nd ; 
It loosens something at my chest ; 
About that tight and deadly band 
1 feel thy little fingers prest. 
The breeze I see is in the tree ! 
It comes to cool my babe and me." 
*' Thy father cares not lor my breast, - 
'Tis thine, sweet baby, there to rest* 


^is all thine own !— and, if its hue, 
Be changed, that was so fair to view, 
'Tis fair enough for thee, my dove ! 
My beauty, little child, is flown, 
But thou wilt live with me in love, 
And what if my poor cheek be brown ? 
*Tis well for me, thou can'st not see 
How pale and wan it else would be." 

Last, and pre-eminently I challenge for this poet the 
gift of Imagination in the highest and strictest sense of 
the word. In the play of ^ncy, Wordsworth, to my 
feelings, is not always graceful, and sometimes recondite. 
The likeness is occasionally too strange, or demands too 
peculiar a point of view, or is such as appears the crea- 
ture of predetermined research, rather than spontaneous 
presentation. Indeed, his fancy seldom displays itself, as 
mere and unmodified fancy. But in imaginative power, 
he stands nearest of all modern writers to Shakspeare and 
Milton : and yet in a kind perfectly unborrowed and his 
own. To employ his own words, which are at once an 
instance and an illustration, he does indeed to all thoughts 
and to all objects — 

" ■ ■ add the gleam. 

The light that never was on sea or land, 
The consecration, and the poet's dream.'* 

I shall select a few examples as most obviously maui- 
festing this faculty ; but if 1 should ever be fortunate 
enough to render my analysis of imagination, its origin 
and characters, thoroughly intelligible to the reader, he 
will scarcely open on a page of this poet's works without 
recognising, more or less, the presence and the influences 
of this faculty. 

From the poem on the Yew Trees, vol. I. page 30S, 

** But worthier still of note 
Are those fraternal four of Borrowdale, 
Joined in one solemn and capacious grove : 
Huge trunks ! — and each particular trunk a growCfe 

Of intertwisted fibres serpentine 
Up-coiling, and ioveterately convolved— 
Not uninformed with phantasy, and looks 


That threaten the prophane ; — a pillared shade, 

Upon whose grassless floor of red-brown hue. 

By sheddings from the pinal umbrag-e tinged 

Perennially — beneath whose sable roof 

Of boughs, as if for festal purpose decked 

With unrejoicing berries, ghostly shapes 

May meet at noontide — Fear and trembling HoPE>. 

Silence and Foresight — Death, the skeleton, 

And Time, the shadow — there to celebrate, 

As in a natural temple scattered o'er 

With altars undisturbed of mossy stone, 

United worship ; or in mute repose 
To lie, and listen to the mountain flood 
Murmuring from Glanamara's inmost caves." 

The eflFect of the old man's figure in the poem of Re- 
signation and Independence, vol. II. page 33. 

•' While he was talking thus, the lonely place 
The old man's shape, and speech, all troubled me: 
In my mind's eye I seemed to see him pace 
About the weary moors continually, 
Wandering about alone and silently." 

Or the 8th, 9th, 19th, 26th, 31st, and 33d, in the col- 
lection of miscellaneous sonnets — the sonnet on the sub- 
jugation of Switzerland, page 210, or the last ode from 
which I especially select the two following stanzas or 
paragraphs, page 349 to 350. 

" Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting : 
The soul that rises with us, our life's star 
Hath had elsewhere its setting, 

And cometh from afar. 
Not in entire forgetful ness, 
And not in utter nakedress, 
But trailing clouds of glory do we come 
From God who is our home : 
Heaven lies about us in our infancy f 
Shades of the prison-house begin to close 

Upon the growing boy ; 
But he beholds the light, and whence it flows ; 

He sees it in his joy ! 
The youth who daily further from the east 
Must travel, still is nature's priest, 
And by the vision splendid 
Is on his way attended ; 
At length the man perceives it die away. 
And fade into the light of common day." 


And page 352 to 354 of the same ode. 

♦« O joy that in our embers 

Is something that doth live, 

That nature yet remembers 

What was so fugitive ! 

The thought of our past years in me doth breed 

Perpetual benedictions : not in deed 

For that which is most worthy to be blest 

Delight and liberty the simple creed 

Of childhood, whether busy or at rest, 

With new-fledged hope still fluttering ia his breast-^— 

Not for these I raise 

The song of thanks and praise ; 

But for those obstinate questionings 

Of sense and outward things, 

Fallings from us, vanishings; 

Blank misgivings of a creature 

Moving about in worlds not realizedr 

High instincts, before which our mortal nature 

Did tremble like a guilty thing surprised ! 

But for those first affections, 

Those shadowy recollections. 

Which, be they what they may, 

Are yet the fountain light of all our day, 

Are yet a master light of all our seeing ; 

Uphold us — cherish — and have power to make 

Our noisy years seem moments in the being 

Of the eternal silence ; truths that wake 
To perish never ; 

Which neither hstlessness, nor mad endeavour 

Nor man nor boy 

Nor all that is at enmity with joy 

Can utterly abolish or destroy ! 

Hence, in a season of calm weather, 

Though inland far we be. 

Our souls have sight of that immortal sea 

Which brought us hither, 

Can in a moment travel thither — 

And see the children sport upon the shore, 

And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore." 

And since it would be unfair to conclude with an ex- 
tract, which, though highly characteristic, must yet, from 
the nature of the thoughts and the subject be interesting, 
or perhaps intelligible, to but a limited number of read- 
ers, I will add from the poet's last published work a pas- 
sage equally Wordsworthian j of the beauty of whicb^ 


and of the imaginative power displayed therein, there 
can be but one opinion, and one feelin». See White 
Doe, page 5, 

** Fast the church-yard fills ; anon 

Look again and they are g"one ; 

The cluster round the porch, and the folk 

Who sate in the shade of the prior's oak ! 

And scarcely have they disappeared 

Ere the prelusive hymn is heard : — 

With one consent the people rejoice, 

Filling the church with a lofty voice ! 

They sing a service which they feel, 

For 'tis the sun-rise of their zeal, 

And faith and hope are in their prime 

In great Eliza's golden time." 

A moment ends the fervent din 

And all is hushed without and within ; 

For though the priest more tranquilly 

Recites the holy liturgy, 

The only voice which you can hear 

Is the river murmuring- near. 

When soft ! — the dusky trees between 

And down the path through the open green^ 

Where is do living thing to be seen ; 

And through yon gateway, where is found, 

Beneath the arch with ivy bound, 

Free entrance to the church-yard ground ; 

And right across the verdant sod 

Towards the very house of God ; 

Comes gliding in with lovely gleam, 

Comes gliding in serene and slow. 

Soft and silent as a dream, 

A solitary doe ! 

White she is as lilly of June, 

And beauteous as the silver moon 

When out of sight the clouds are drireu 

And she is left alone in heaven ! 

Or hke a ship some gentle day 

In sunshine sailing far away — 

A glittering ship that hath the plain 

Of ocean for her own domain 

* -ft it- if- if- * * * 

"What harmonious pensive changes 
Wait upon her as she ranges 
Round and round this pile of state 
Overthrown and desolate ? 


Kow a stop or two her way 
Is throug-h space of open day, 
Where the enamoured sunny h'ght 
Brig-htens her that was so brig'ht ? 
Now doth a dehcate shadow fail, 
Falls upon her like a breath 
From some lofty arch or wall. 
As she passes underneath. 

The following ana!o2:y will,! ana apprehensive, appear 
dim and fantastic, but in reading Bartram's Travels I 
could not help transcribing the following lines as a sort 
of allegory, or connected simile and metaphor of Words- 
worth's intellect and genius. ** The soil is a deep, rich, 
^' dark mould, on a deep stratum of tenacious clay ; and 
** that on a foundation of rocks, which often break through 
*' both strata, lifting their back above the surface. The 
** trees which chiefly grow here are the gigantic, black 
*' oak ; magnolia magnifloria ; fraximus excelsior; pla- 
" tane ; and a few stately tulip trees." What Mr. 
Wordsworth will produce, it is not for me to prophecy : 
but I could pronounce with the liveliest convictions what 
he is capable of producing. It is the First Genuine 
Philosophic Poem. 

The preceding criticism will not, I am aware, avail to 
overcome the prejudices of those who have made it a 
business to attack and ridicule Mr. Wordsworth's compo- 

Truth and prudence might be imaged as concentric 
circles. The poet may perhaps have passed beyond the 
latter, but he has confined himself far within the bounds 
of the former, in designating these critics, as too petu- 
lant to be passive to a genuine poet, and too feeble to 
grapple with him ; — " men of palsied imaginations, in 
** whose minds all healthy action is languid ; — who, there- 
** fore, feel as the many direct them, or with the many 
'* are greedy after vicious provocatives." 

Let not Mr. Wordsworth be charged with having ex» 
pressed himself too indignMutly, till the wantonness and 
the systematic and malignant perseverance of the ag- 
gressions have been taken into far consideration. I my- 
self heard the commander in chief of this unmanly war- 
fare make a boast of his private admiration of Words- 
worth's genius. 1 have heard him declare, that whoeveir 


came into his room would probably find the Lyrical Bal- 
lads lying open on his table, and that (speaking exclu- 
sively of those written by Mr. VVordsworih himself,) he 
could nearly repeat the whole of them by heart. But a 
Review, in order to be a saleable article, must be per- 
sonal, sharp, and pointed: and, since then, the Poet has 
made himself, and with himself all who were, or were 
supposed to be, his friends and admirers, the object of 
the critic's revenge — how ? by having spoken of a work 
so conducted in the terms which it deserved ! I once 
heard a clergyman in boots and buckskin avow, that he 
would cheat his own father in a horse. A moral system 
of a similar nature seems to have been adopted by too 
many anonymous critics. As we used to say at school, 
in reviewing they make being rogues : and he, who com- 
plains, is to be laughed at for his ignorance of the game. 
With the pen out of their hand they are honourable men. 
They exert, indeed, power (which is to that of the in- 
jured party who should attempt to expose their glaring 
perversions and mis-statements, as twenty to one) to write 
down, and (where the author's circumstances permit) to 
impoverish the man, whose learning and genius they 
themselves in private have repeatedly admitted. They 
knowingly strive to make it impossible for the man even 
to publish* any future work, without exposing himself 
to all the wretchedness of debt and embarrassment. But 
this is all in their vocation, and bating what they do in 
their vocation, '' zi-ho can say that black is the xvhite of their 
eye .?" 

So much for the detractors from Wordsworth's merits. 
On the other hand, much as I might wish for their fuller 
sympathy, I dare not flatter myself, that the freedom 
with which I have declared my opinions concerning both 
his theory and his defects, most of which are more or 
less connected with his theory either as cause or effect, 
will be satisfactory or pleasing to all the poet's admirers 
and advocates. More indiscriminate than mine their ad- 
miration may be ; deeper and more sincere it cannot be. 

♦ N'otniany montlis ag-o, an eminent bookseller was asked what he 
thou«-ht of ? The answer was, " I have heard his pow- 
ers very hio-hly spoken of by some? of our first-rate men ; but I would not 
have a worTv of hi.'^ ifany one would ffivc it me: for he is spoken but 
slightly of, or not at all,' in the Quarterly Review : and the Edinburgh^ , 
you know, is decided, to cut him up !" — 


But I hate advanced no opinion either for praise or cen- 
sure, other than as texts introductory to the reasons which 
compel me to form it. Above all, I was fully convinced 
that such a criticism was not only wanted ; but that, if 
executed with adequate ability, it must conduce in no 
mean degree to Mr. Wordsworth's reputation. Uiifame 
belongs to another age, and can neither be accelerated 
or retarded. How small the proportion of the defects 
are to the beauties, I have repeatedly declared ; and that 
no one of them originates in deficiency of poetic genius. 
Had they been more and greater, 1 should still, as a friend 
to his literary character in the present age, consider an 
analytic display of them as pure gain ; if only it removed, 
as surely to all reflecting minds even the foregoing an- 
alysis must have removed, the strange mistake so slight- 
ly grounded, j'et so widely and industriously propagated, 
of Mr. Wordsworth's turn for simplicity I 1 am not 
half as much irritated by hearing his enemies abuse him 
for vulgarity of style, subject, and conception, as I am 
disgusted with the gilded side of the same meaning, as 
displayed by some affected admirers with whom he is, 
forsooth, a szveet, simple poet ! and 50 natural, that little 
master Charles, and his younger sister, are so charmed 
with them, that they play at " Goody Blake," or at 
" Johnny and Betty Foy !" 

Were the collection of poems published with these 
biographical sketches, important enough, (which I am 
not vain enough to believe) to deserve such a distinc- 

For more than eighteen months have the volume of 
Poems, entitled Sibylline Leaves, and the present 
volumes up to this page been printed, and ready for 
publication. But ere I speak of myself in the tones, 
which are alone natural to me under the circumstances 
of late 3 ears, I would fain present myself to the Reader 
as I was in the first dawn of my literary life : 

When Hope grew round me, like the climbing vine, 
And fruits and foliage not m)' own seem'd mine ! 

For this purpose, I have selected from the letters w hich 
I wrote home from Germany, those which appeared 
likely to be most interesting, and at the same time most 
pertinent to the title of this work. 




On Sunday morning, September 16, 1798, the Ham- 
burg Pacqaet set sail from Yarmouth : and I, for the 
first time in my life, beheld my native land retiring from 
rae. At the moment of its disappearance — in all the 
kirks, churches, chapels, and meeting-houses, in which 
the greater number, I hope, of my countrymen were at 
that time assembled, 1 will dare question whether there 
was one more ardent prayer offered up to heaven than 
that which I then preferred for my country. Now, then, 
(said I to a gentleman who was standing near me,) we 
are out of our country. Not yet, not yet ! he replied, 
and pointed to the sea ; '* This, too, is a Briton's coun- 
try." This bon mot gave a fillip to my spirits, I rose and 
looked round on my fellow-passengers, who were all on 
the deck. We were eighteen in number, videlicet, five 
Englishmen, an English lady, a French gentleman and his 
servant, an Hanoverian and his servant, a Prussian, a 
Swede, two Danes, and a Mulatto boy, a German tailor 
and his wife (the smallest couple I ever beheld) and a 
Jew. We were all on the deck ; but in a short time I 
observed marks of dism:jy. The lady retired to the 
cabin in some confusion, and many of the faces round me 
assumed a very doleful and frog-coloured appearance ; 
and within an hour the number of those on deck was 
lessened by one half. I was giddy, but not sick, and 
the giddiness soon went away, but left a feverishness 
and want of appetite, which I attributed, in great mea- 
sure, to the s(£Ta mephitis of the bilge-water ; and it was 
certainly not decreased by the exportations from the 
cabin. However, I was well enough to join the able- 
bodied passengers, one of whom observed, not inaptly, 


that Momus migbt have discovered an easier way ta see 
a man's inside than by placing a window in his breast. 
He needed only have taken a salt-water trip in a pac- 

I am inclined to believe, that a pacquet is far superior to 
a stage-coach, as a means of making men open out to each 
other. In the latter, the uniformity of posture disposes to 
dozing, and the definiteness of the period at which the 
company will separate makes each individual think more 
of those to whom he is going, than of those with whom he 
is going. But at sea, more curiosity is excited, if only 
on this account, that the pleasant or unpleasant qua- 
lities of your companions are of greater importance to 
you, from the uncertainty how long you may be obliged 
to house with them. Besides, if you are countrymen, 
that now begins to form a distinction and a bond of bro- 
therhood ; and, if of dififerent countries, there are new 
incitements of conversation, more to ask and more to 
commanicate. I found that I had interested the Danes 
in no common degree. I had crept into the boat on the 
deck and fallen asleep ; but was awaked by one of them 
about three o'clock in the afternoon, who told me that 
they had been seeking me in every hole and corner, and 
insisted that I should join their party and drink with them. 
He talked English with such fluency, as left me wholly 
unable to account for the singular and even ludicrous in- 
correctness with which he spoke it. I went, and found 
some excellent wines and a desert of grapes with a pine 
apple. The Danes had christened me Doctor Theology, 
and dressed as I was all in black, with large shoes and 
black worsted stockings, I might certainly have passed 
very well for a Methodist missionary. However, I dis- 
claimed my title. What then may you be ? A man of 
fortune ? No ! — A merchant ? No ! A merchant's travel- 
ler ? No ! — A clerk ? No ! un Philosophe, perhaps ? It 
was at that time in my life, in which, of all possible names 
and characters I had the greatest disgust to that of *' un 
Philosophe." But I was weary of being questioned, and 
rather than be nothing, or at best only the abstract idea 
of a man, I submitted by a bow, even to the aspersion 
implied in the word '* un philosophe." — The Dane then 
informed me, that all in the present party were philoso.- 

VoL. II. U 


J)hers likewise. Certes we were not of the stoic school. 
For we driink and talked and sung, till we talked and 
sung all together ; and then we rose, and danced on the 
deck a set of dances, which in one sense of the word at 
least, were very intelligibly and appropriately entitled 
reels. The passengers who hy in the cabin below, in all 
the agonies of sea-sickness, must have found our bac- 
chanalian merriment 

-a tune 

Harsh and of dissonant mood for iheir complaint. 

.1 thought so at the time ; and (by way, I suppose, of 
suppoiting my newly-assumed philosophical character) 
I thought too, how closely the greater number of our 
virtues are connected with the fear of death, and how 
little sympathy we bestow on pain, where there is no 

The two Danes were brothers. The one was a man 
^ith a clear white complexion, white hair, and white 
eye-brows, looked silly, and nothing that he uttered gave 
the lie to his looks. The other, whom, by way of emi- 
nence, i hare called the Dane, had hkewise white hair, 
but was much shorter than his brother, with slender 
limbs, and a very thin face slightly pock-fretten. This 
man convinced me of the justice of an old remark, that 
many a faithful portrait in our novels and farces has been 
i^ashly censured for an outrageous caricature, or perhaps 
nonentity. 1 had retired to my station in the boat ; he 
came and seated himself by my side, and appeared not a 
little tipsy. He commenced the conversation in the 
most magnific style, and as a sort of pioneering to his 
own vanity, he flattered me with such grossness ! The 
parasites of the old comedy were modest in the compa- 
rison. His language and accentuation were so exceed- 
ingly singular, that 1 determined, for once in my life, to 
take notes of a conversation. Here it follows, somewhat 
abridged indeed, but in all other respects as accurately 
as my memory permitted. 

The Dane. Vat imagination ! vat language! vat vast 
science ! and vat eyes ! vat a milk-vite forehead ! — O 
;'my heafen ! vy, you're a Got I 

Answz' R. You do me too much honour, Sir^ 


The Dane. O me ! if you should dink I is flattering 
you ! — No, no, no ! I haf ten tou^and a year — yes, ten 
tousand a year — yes, ten tousand pound a year ♦ Veil — • 
and vat is dhat ? a mere trifle ! i 'ouldnl gif my sincere 
heart for ten times dhe money. — Yes, you're a Got ! I a 
mere man ! But, my dear friend 1 dhink of me as a man ! 
Is, is — I ?nean to ask you now, my dear friend — is 1 not 
very eloquent? Is I not speak [ nglish very fine? 

Answ. Most admirably ! Believe me. Sir ! 1 have sel- 
dom heard even a native talk so fluently 

The Dane, (squeezing my hand with great vehemence,) 
My dear friend ! vat an affection and fidelity we have for 
each odher ' But tell me, do tell me — Is I not, now and 
den, speak some fault ? Is t not in sonae wrong? 

Answ. Why, 8ir, perhaps it might be observed by 
nice critics in the English language, that you occasionally 
use the word ■' is" instead of *' am," In our best com- 
panies we generally say I am, and not I is, or ise. Ex- 
cuse me. Sir! it is a mere trifle. 

The Dane. O! — is, is, am, am, am. Yes, yes— I 
know, I know. 

Ansav. I am, thou art, he is, we are, ye are, they 

The Dane. Yes, ves, — I know, I know — Am, am^ 
am, is dbe presens, and is is dhe perfectum — yes, yes — 
and are is dhe plusquam perfectum. 

Avsw. Aod " art," Sir is 

The Dane. My dear friend ! it is dhe plusquam per- 
fectum, no, no — dhat is a great lie. '* Are" is the p'us- 
quam perfectum — and ^^ art " is dhe plusquam plueper- 
fectum — {then swinging iny hand to and fro, and cocking 
his little bright hazle eyes at me, that danced with vanity 
and wine) You see, my dear friend! that I too have 
some lehrning. 

Answ^. Learning, Sir ? Who dares suspect it ? Who 
can listen to you for a minute ; who can even look at you, 
■\vithout perceiving the extent of it ? 

The Dane. My dear friend ! — {then, with a would-be 
humble look^ and in a tone ofv&ice as if he 7vas reason^ 
ing) — I could not talk so of presens and imperfectum, 
and futurum and plusquamplue perfectum, and all dhat, 
my dear friend ! without some lehrning ? 


Answ. Sir ! a man like you cannot talk on any sub* 
ject without discovering the depth of his information. 

The Daj^e, Dhe grammatic Greek, my friend ! ha ! 
ha ! ha ! {laughing^ and swinging my hand to and fro^ 
— then, with a sudden transiiion to great solemnity^ Now 
I will tell you, my dear friend ! Dhere did happen about 
me vat de whole historia of Denmark record no instance 
about nobody else. Dhe bishop did ask me all dhe ques- 
tions about all dhe religion in dhe Latin grammar 

Ansvv. The grammar, Sir? The language 1 presume — 
The Dane, (a little (ffended,) Grammar is language^ 
and Jansjuage is grammar — 

Answ. Ten thousand pardons ! 
The Dane. Veil, and 1 was only fourteen years— 
Answ. Only fourteen years old ? 
The Dane. No more. I was fourteen years old— 
and he asked me all questions, religion and philosophy, 
and all in dhe Latin language — and 1 answered him all 
every one, my dear friend ! all in dhe Latin language. 
Answ. A prodigy! an absolute prodigy ! 
The Dane. No, no, no 1 he was a bishop, a great 

Answ. Yes ! a bishop. 

The Dane. A bishop — not a mere predicant, not a 
prediger — 

Answ. My dear Sir ! we have misunderstood each 
other. I said that your answering in Latin at so early an 
age, was a prodigy, that is, a thing that is wonderful, 
that does not often happen. 

The Dane. Often ! Dhere is not von instance record- 
ed in dhe whole historia of Denmark. 

Answ And since then Sir ? 

The Dane. I was sent ofer to dhe Vest Indies—to 
our island, and dhere \ had no more to do vid books. 
No ! no ! I put my genius another way — and I haf made 
ten tousand pound a year. Is not dhat ghenius, my dear 
friend ! — But vat is money I I dhink the poorest man 
alive my equal. Yes, my dear friend ! my little fortune 
is pleasant to my generous heart, because I can do good 
—no man with so little a fortune ever did so much gene- 
rosity — no person, no man person, no woman person ever 
denies it But we are all Got's children. 


Here tlie Hanoverian interrupted bim. and the other 
Dane, the Swede, and the Prussian, joined us, together 
with a young Englishman who spoke the German fluently, 
and interpreted to me many of the Prussian's jokes. 
The Prussian was a travelling merchant, turned of three- 
score, a hale man, tall, strong, and stout, full of stories, 
gesticulations, and buffoonery, with the soul, as well aS 
the look, of a mountebank, who, while he is making you 
laugh, picks your pocket. Amid all his droll looks and 
droll gestures, there remained one look untouched by 
laughter ; and that one look was the true face, the others 
were but its mask. The Hanoverian was a pale, fat, 
bloated j^oung man, whose father had made a large for- 
tune in London, as an army-contractor. He seemed to 
emulate the manners of young Englishmen of fortune. 
He was a good-natur'd fellow, not without information or 
literature, but a most egregious coxconib. He had been 
in the habit of attending the House of Commons, and had 
once spoken, as he informed me, with great applause in 
a debating society. For this he appeared to have quali- 
fied himself with laudable industry, for he was perfect 
in Walker's Pronouncing Dictionary, and with an accent 
which forcibly reminded me of the Scotchman in Rode- 
ric Random, who professed to teach the English pronun- 
ciation, he was constantly deferring to my superior judg- 
ment, whether or no 1 had pronounced this or that word 
with propriety, or '' the true delicacy." When he spoke, 
though it were only half a dozen sentences, he always 
rose ; for which ) could detect no other motive than his 
partiality to that elegant phrase so liberally introduced 
in the orations of our British legislators, '' While I am 
on my legs." The Swede, whom for reasons that will 
soon appear, 1 shall distinguish by the name of " Nobili- 
ty," was a strong featured, scurvy faced man, his com- 
plexion resembling in colour, a red hoi poker bc^ginnuig 
to cool. He appeared miserably dependent on the Dane, 
but was, however, incomparably, the best intormed and 
most rational of the party. Indeed, his manners and con- 
versation discovered him to be both a man of the world 
and a gentleman. The Jew was in the hold ; the t reach 
gentleman wai? lying on the deck, so ill that I could ob- 
serve nothing concerning him, except the afftxtionate at- 
tentions of his servant to him. The poor fellow was ve« 


ry sick himself, and every now and then ran to the side 
of the vessel, still keeping his eye on his master, but re- 
turned in a moment and seated himself again by him, 
now supporting his head, now wiping his forehead, and 
talking to him, all the while, in the most soothing tones. 
There had been a matrimonial squabble of a very ludi- 
crous kind in the cabin, between the little German tailor 
and his little wife. He had secured two beds, one for him- 
self, and one for her. This had struck the little woman as 
a very cruel action ; she insisted upon their having but 
one, and assured the mate, in the most piteous tones, that 
she was his lawful wife. The mate and the cabin boy de- 
cided in her favour, abused the little man for his want of 
tenderness with much humour, and hoisted him into the 
same compartment with his sea-sick wife. This quarrel 
was interesting to me, as it procured me a bed, which I 
otherwise should not have had. 

In the evening, a 7 o'clock, the sea rolled higher, and 
the Dane, by means of the greater agitation, eliminated 
enough of what he had been swallowing to make room for 
a great deal more. His favourite potation was sugar and 
brandy, i. e. a very little warm water with a large quan- 
tity of brandy, sugar, and nutmeg. His servant boy, a 
black-eyed Mulatto, had a good-natured round face, ex- 
actly the colour of the skin of the walnut-kernel. The 
Dane and I were again seated, tete-a-tete, in the ship's 
boat. The conversation, which was now, inde.ed, rather 
an oration than a dialogue, became extravagant beyond 
all that I ever hoard. He told me that he had made a 
large fortune in the island of Santa Cruz, and was now 
returning to Denmark to enjoy it. He expatiated on the 
style in which he meant to live, and the great under- 
takinijs which he proposed to himself to commence, till 
the brandy, aiding his vanity, and his vanity and garru- 
lity aiding the brandy, he talked like a madman — en- 
treated me to accompany him to Denmark — there I should 
«ee his influence with the government, and he would in- 
troduce me to the king, &c. &c. Thus he weiU on dream- 
ing aloud, and then passing with a very lyrical transition 
to the subject of general politics, he declaimed, like a 
memoer ot the Corresponaing Society, about, ^not con* 
cerning,) the Rights of Man, and assured me that, not- 
withstanding his fortune, he thought the poorest man 


alive Lis equal. " All are equal, my dear friend ! all are 
equal I Ve are all Got's children. The poorest man 
hat' the same rights with me Jack ! Jack 1 some more 
sugar and brandy. Dhere is dhat fellow now ! He is a 
a Mulatto — but he is my equal. That's right, Jack ! 
(taking the sugar and brandy,) Here, you Sir! shake 
hands with dhis gentleman! Shake hands with me, you 
dog ! Dhere, dhere ! — We are all equal my dear friend ! 
Do I not speak like Socrates, and Plato, and Cato — they 
were all philosophers, my dear philosophe ! all very great 
men ! — and so was Homer and Virgil — but they were 
poets, yes, yes ! I know all about it ! — But what can 
any body sa^ more than this? we are all equal, all Got's 
children. I haf ten tousand a year, but I am no more 
than the meanest man alive. I haf no pride; and yet, 
my dear friend I 1 can say do ! and it is done. Ha ! ha ! 
ha ! my dear friend ! Now dhere is dhat gentleman, 
(pointing io "Nobility.") he is a Swedish baron — you 
shall see. Ho ! (calling to the Swede,) get me, will you, 
a bottle of wine trom the cabin. Swede. — Here, Jack 1 
go and get your master a bottle of wine from the cabin. 
Dane. No, no, no ! do you go now — you go yourself-^ 
you go now ! Szvede Pah ! — Dane. Now go ? Go, I 
pray you. And the Swe:de w^ent! ! 

After this the Dane commenced an harangue on reli- 
gion, and mistaking me for " un philosophe" in the con- 
tinental sense of the word, he talked of Deity in a decla- 
matory style, very much resembling the devotional rants 
of that rude blunderer, Mr. Thomas Paine, in his Age of 
Reason, and whispered in my ear, what damned hypocrism 
all Jesus Christ's business was. I dare aver, that few 
men have less reason to charge themselves with indul- 
ging in persiflage than myself I should hate it if it were 
only that it is a Frenchman's vice, and feel a pride in 
avoiding it because our own language is too honest to 
have a word to express it. But in this instance the temp- 
tation had been too powerful, and I have placed it on 
the list of my offences. Pericles answered one of his 
dearest friends, who had solicited him on a case of life 
and death, to take an equivocal oath for his preservation : 
Debeo arnicis opitulari, sed usqtie ad Deos.^ Friendship 

* Translation. It behooves me to side with my friends, but onlv as fa^ 

as the god». 


herself must place her last and boldest step on this side 
the altar. What Pericles would not do to save a friend's 
life, you may be assured 1 would not hazard, merely to 
mill the chocolate-pot of a drunken fool's vanity till it 
frothed over. Assuming a serious look, 1 professed my- 
self a believer, and sunk at once an hundred fathoms in 
his good graces. He retired to his cabin, and I wrapped 
myself up in my great coat, and looked at the water. A 
beautiful white cloud of foam, at momently intervals 
coursed by the side of the vessel with a roar, and little 
stars of flame danced and sparkled, and went out in it : 
and every now and then, light detachments of this white 
cloud-like foam darted off from the vessel's side, each 
with its own small constellation, over the sea, and scour- 
ed out of sight, like a Tartar troop over a wilderness. 

It was cold, the cabin was at open war with my olfac- 
tories, and I found reason to rejoice in my great coat, a 
weighty high-caped, respectable rug, the collar of which 
turned over, and played the part of a nightcap very 
passably. In looking up at two or three bright stars, 
which oscillated with the motion of the sails, I fell asleep, 
but was awakened at one o'clock, Monday morning, by a 
shower of rain. I found myself compelled to go down 
into the cabin, where I slept very soundly, and awoke 
with a very good appetite at breakfast time, my nostrils, 
the most placable of ail the senses, reconciled to, or, in- 
deed, insensible of the mephitis. 

Monday, September 17th, I had a long conversation 
with the Swede, who spoke with the most poignant con- 
tempt of the Dane, whom he described as a fool, purse- 
mad ; but he confirmed the boasts of the Dane respect- 
ing the largeness of his fortune, which he had acquired 
in the first instance as an advocate, and afterwards as a 
planter. From the Dane, and from himself, I collected 
that he was indeed a Swedish nobleman, who had squan- 
dered a fortune that was never very large, and had made 
over his property to the Dane, on whom he was now ut- 
terly dependent. He seemed to suffer very little pain 
from the Dane's insolence. He was in high degree hu- 
mane and attentive to the Englisd lady, who suffered 
most fearfully, and for whom he performed many little 
offices with a tenderness and delicacy which seemed to 
prove real goodness of heart. Indeed, his general man- 


nei^ and conversation were not only pleasing, but even 
interesting ; and I struggled to believe his insensibility, 
respecting the Dane, philosophical fortitude. For, though 
the Dane was now quite sober, his character oozed 
out of him at every pore. And after dinner, when he 
was again flushed with wine, every quarter of an hour, 
or perhaps oftener, he would shout out to the Swede, 
*' Ho ! Nobility, go — do such a thing ! Mr. Nobility ! tell 
the gentlemen such a story, and so forth," with an inso- 
lence which must have excited disgust and detestation, 
if his vulgar rants on the sacred rights of equality, joined 
to this wild havoc of general grammar, no less than of 
the English language, had not rendered it so irresistibly 

At four o'clock, I observed a wild duck swimming on the 
waves, a single soHtary wild duck. It is not easy to con« 
ceive,howinterestingathing,it looked in that round object- 
less desert of waters, I had associated such a feeling of 
immensity with the ocean, that I felt exceedingly disap- 
pointed, when I was out of sight of all land, at the nar- 
rowness and nearness^ as it were, of the circle of the hori- 
zon. So little are images capable of satisfying the ob- 
$cure feelings connected with words. In the evening the 
sails were lowered, lest we should run foul of the land» 
which can be seen only at a small distance. At four 
o'clock, on Tuesday morning, 1 vvas awakened by the cry 
of land ! land ! it was an ugly island, rock at a distance 
on our left, called Heiligeland, well known to many pas- 
sengers from Yarmouth to Hamburg, who have been 
obliged, by stormy weather, to pass weeks and weeks in 
weary captivity on it, stripped of all their money by the 
exhorbitant demands of the wretches who inhabit it So, 
at least, the sailors informed me. About nine o'clock 
we saw the main land, which seemed scarcely able to 
hold its head above water, low, flat, and dreary, with 
light-houses and land-marks, which seemed to give a 
character and language to the dreariness. We entered 
the mouth of the Elbe, passing Neu-werk ; though as yet, 
the right bank only of the river was visible to us. "On 
this 1 saw a church, and thanked God for my safe vo}^- 
age, not without affectionate thoughts of those 1 had left 
in England. At eleven o'clock on the same movning, we 
arrive^ at Cuxhaven, the ship dropped anchor, and the 


boat was hoisted out, to carry the Hanoverian and a few 
others on shore. The captain agreed to take ns, who 
remained, to Hiimburii;h for ten guineas, to which the 
Dane contributed so largely/, that tl»e other passengers 
paid but half a guinea each. Accordingly, we haled an- 
chor, and passed gently up the river. At Cuxhaven both 
sides of the river may be seen in clear weather ; we 
could now see the rii^ht bank only. We passed a mul- 
titude of Enghsh traders that had been waiting many 
weeks for a wind. In a short time both banks became 
viJ^ible, both flrU and evidencing the labour of human 
hands, by their extreme neatness. On the left bank I 
saw a church or two in the distance ; on the right bank 
we passed by steeple and windmill, and cottage, and wind- 
mill and single house, windmill and windmill, and neat 
«ingle house, and steeple. These were the objects, and 
in t\ie succession. 1 he shores were rery green and 
planted with trees not inelegantly. Thirty-five miles 
from Cuxhaven, the night came on us, and as the naviga- 
tion of the Elbe is perilous, we dropped anchor. 

Over what place, thought I, does the moon hang to 
your eye, my dearest friend ? To me it hung over the left 
bank of the Elbe. Close above the moon was a huge 
volume of deep black cloud, while a very thin fillet cross- 
ed the middle of the orb, as narrow, and thin, and black 
as a ribbon of crape. The long trembling road of moon- 
light, which lay on the water, and reached to the stern of 
our vessel, glimmered dimly and obscurely. We saw 
two or three lights from the right bank, probably from 
bed-rooms. I felt the striking contrast between the si- 
lence of this m jpstic stream, whose banks are populous 
with men and women and children, and flocks and herds — 
between tlie silence by night of this peopled river, and 
the ceaseless noise, and uproar, and loud agitations of 
the desolate solitude of the ocean. The passengers be- 
low had all retired to their beds ; and I felt the interest 
of this quiet scene the more deeply, from the circum- 
stance of having just quitted them. For the Prussian had 
during the whole of the evening, displayed all his talents 
to captivate the Dane, who had ad nutted him into the 
train of his deperid.mts. The young Englishman continu- 
ed to interpret the Prussians jokes to me. They were all, 
without exception, profane and abominable, but some 


sufficiently witty, and a few inciilents, which he related 
in hi? own person, were valuable as illustraUng the in^an- 
ners of the countries in which tbe^- had tdken uiace. 

Five o'clock on VVednoslay morning we ha^jled the 
anchor, but were soon obliged to drop it ag iin in conse- 
quence of a thick fog, which our cnplain f r-ired would 
continue the whole (hy : but al>out nine it cleared off, 
and we sailed slowly along, clos^ hy the shore of a very 
beautiful island, forty miles froai Cuxh iven, the wind 
continuing slick. This holme or island is about a mile 
and a half in length, wedge-shaped, well wooded, with 
glades of the liveliest green, and rendered more inte- 
resting by the remarkably neat firm house on it. It 
seemed made for retirement without solitude — a place 
that would allure one's friends while it precluded 
the impertinent calls of mere visiters. The shores of 
the Elbe now became more beautiful, with rich meadows 
and trees rimning like a low wall along the river's edge ; 
and peering over them, neat houses and (especially oq 
the lii^ht bank) a profusion of steeple-spires, white, 
black, or red. An instinctive taste teaches men to build 
their churches in flat countries with spire-steeples^ 
which as they cannot be referred to any other object, 
point as with silent linger to the sky and stars, and 
sometimes when they reflect the brazen light of a rich 
though rainy simset, appear like a pyramid of flame burn- 
ing heavenward. I remember once, and once only, to 
have seen a spire in a narrow valley of a mountainous 
country. The effect was not only mean but ludicrous, 
and reminded me, against my will, of an extinguisher ; the 
close neighbourhood of the high mountain, at the foot of 
which it stood, had so completely dwarfed it, and depriv- 
ed it of all connection with the sky or clouds. Forty 
six English miles from Cuxhaven, and sixteen from Ham- 
burgh, the Danish village Veder ornaments the left bank 
with its black steeple, and close by it the wild and pas- 
toral hamlet of Schulau. Hitherto, both the right and 
left bank, green to the very brink, and level with the 
river, resembled the shores of a park canal. The trees 
and houses were alike low ; sometimes the low trees 
overtopping the yet lower houses ; sometimes the low 
houses rising above the yet lower trees. But at Schu^ 
hu the left bank rises at once forty or fifl;y feet, aui 


atares on the river with its perpendicular fassade of sand, 
thinly patched with tufts of green. The Elbe continued 
to present a more and more lively spectacle from the 
multitude of fishing boats and the flocks of sea gulls 
wheeling round them, the clamorous rivals and compan- 
ions of the fishermen ; till we came to Blankaness, a 
most interesting village scattered amid scattered trees, 
over three hills in three divisions. Each of the three 
hills stares upon the river, with faces of bare sand with 
which the boats, with their bare poles, standing in files 
along the banks, made a sort of fantastic harmony. Be- 
tween each fassade lies a green and woody dell, each 
deeper than the other. In short, it is a large village 
made up of individual cottages, each cottage in the cen- 
tre of its own little wood or orchard, and each with its 
own separate path : a village with a labyrinth of paths, 
or rather a neighbourhood of houses ! It is inhabited by 
fishermen and boat-makers, the Blankanese boats being 
in great request through the whole navigation of the 
Elbe. Here first we saw the spires of Hamburg, and 
from hence as far as Altona the left bank of the Elbe is 
uncommonly pleasing, considered as the vicinity of an 
industrious and republican city ; in that style of beauty, 
or rather prettiness, that might tempt the citizen into 
the country, and yet gratify the taste which he had ac- 
quired in the town. Summer houses and Chinese show- 
work are every where scattered along the high and 
green banks ; the boards of the farm-houses left unplais- 
tered and gaily painted with green and yellow ; and 
scarcely a tree not cut into shapes, and made to remind 
the human being of his own power and intelligence in- 
stead of the wisdom of nature. Still, however, these 
are links of connection between town and country, and 
far better than the affectation of tastes and enjoyments 
for "which men's habits have disquahfied them. Pass 
them by on Saturdays and Sundays with the burgers of 
Hamburgh smoking their pipes, the women and children 
feasting in the alcoves of box and yew, and it be- 
comes a nature of its own. On Wednesday, four o'clock, 
we left the vessel, and passing with trouble through the 
huge mas«es of shipping that seemed to choke the wide 
Elbe from Altona upward we were at length landed at 
the Boom House. Hamburg. 



LETTER II. X'^o a Lady.) 


31eine liebe Freundin, 

See hoTi) natural the German comes from me, though 
I have not yet been six weeks in the country I — almost as 
fluently as Enolish from my neighbour the Amptschreiber 
(or public secretary) who, as often as w^e meet, though 
it shouhl be half a dozen times in the same day, never 
fails to greet me with — '* * * ddam your ploot unt eyes, 
my dearest En gland er ! vhee goesit !'"* — which is Certainly 
a proof of great generosity on his part, these words 
being hi* whole stock of English. I had, however, a 
better reason than the desire of displaying my proficien- 
cy ; for I wished to ptit you in good humour with a lan- 
guage, from the acquirment of which. I have promised 
myself much edification, and the means, too, of commu^ 
nicating a new pleasure to you and your sister, during 
our winter readings. And how can I do this better than 
by pointing out its gallant attention to the ladies ? Our 
Ensj:Hsh affix, ess, is, I believe, confined either to words 
derived from the Latin, as actress, directress, &c. or from 
the French, as mistress, duchess, and the like. But the 
German, in, enables us to designate the sex in every 
possible relation of life. Thus the Amptman's lady is 
the Frau Amptman??i — the secretary's wife (by-the-by 
the handsomest woman I have yet seen in Germany) is 
Die allerliebste Frau Amptschreiben'n — the colonePs 
lady, Die Frau Obristm or colonel/m — and even the 
parson's wife, die frau pastonVi. But 1 am especially 
pleased with their freundin, which, unlike the arnica of 
the Romans, is seldom used but in its best and purest 
sense. Now, I know it will be said, that a friend is al- 
ready something more than a friend, when a man feels an 
anxiety to express to himself that this friend is a female ; 
but this I deny — in that sense, at least, in which the ob- 
jection will be made. I would hazard the impeachment 
of heresy, rather than abandon my belief that there is a 
sex in our souls as well as in their perishable garments ; 
and he who does not feel it, never truly loved a sister— 
Vol. U. 12 


ilay, IS not capable even of loving a wife as slie deserve:^ 
to beloved, if she indeed be worthy of thcjt holj name. 

Now, I know, my gentle friend, what you are mur- 
muring to yourself — '' This is so like him I running 
away after the first bubble that chance has blown olf 
from the surface of his fancy ; when one is anxious to 
learn where he is, and what he has seen." Well then ! 
that I am settled at Ratzeburg, with my motives and the 

particulars of my journey hither, will inform you. 

My iirst letter to him, with which, doubtless, he has edi- 
fied your w^hole fireside, left me safely landed at Hamburg, 
on the Elbe Stairs, at the Boom House. While standing 
on the stairs, I was amused by the contents of the pas- 
sage boat which crosses the river once or twice a day 
from Hamburg to Haarburg. It was stowed close with 
all people of all nations, in all sorts of dresses ; the men 
all with pipes in their mouths, and these pipes of jiil 
shapes and fancies — straight and wreathed, simple and 
complex, long and short, cane, clay, porcelain, wood, tin, 
silver, and ivory ; most of them with silver chains and 
silver bole-covers. Pipes and boots are the first univer- 
^1 characteristic of the male Kam.burgers that would 
strike the eye of a raw traveller. But 1 forget my 
promise of journalizing as much as possible. — Therefore, 
Sepiemher 19th, afternoon. — My companion, who, you 
recollect, speaks the French language with unusual pro- 
priety, had formed a kind of confidential acquaintance 
with the emigrant, who appeared to be a man of sense, 
and whose manners were those of a perfect gentleman. 
He seemed about fifty, or rather more. Whatever is 
unpleasant in French manners from excess in the degree, 
had been softened down by age or affliction ; and all that 
is delightful in the Jcuid, alacrity and delicacy in little 
attentions, &c. remained, and without bustle, gesticula- 
tion, or disproportionate eagerness. His demeanor ex- 
hibited the minute philanthrophy of a polished French- 
man, tempered by the sobriety of the English character, 
disunited from its reserve. There is something strangely 
attractive in the character of a ^e/z^/e'ma/i when 3' ou ap[>ly 
the word emphatically, and yet in that sense of the term 
which it is more easy to feel than to define. It neither 
includes the possession of high moral excellence, nor of 


necessity even the ornamental graces of manner. I have 
now in my mind's eye, a person whose hfe would scarcely 
stand scrutiny, even in the court of honour, much less, 
in that of conscience ; and his manners, if nicely obser- 
ved, would, of the two, excite an idea of awkwardness 
rather than of elegance ; and yet, every one who con- 
versed with him, felt and acknowledged the gentleman. 
The secret of the matter, I believe to be this — we feel 
the gentlemanly character present to us, whenever, un- 
der all the circumstances of social intercourse, the trivial 
not less than the important, through the whole detail of 
his manners and deportment, and with the ease of a • 
habit, a person shows respect to others in such a way,-^ 
as at the same time implies, in his own feelings, an ha^. 
bitual and assured anticipation of reciprocal respect from . 
them to himself. In short, the gentlemanly character 
arises out of the feeling of Equality acting, as a Habit, 
yet flexible to the varieties of Rank, and modified with-.. 
out being disturbed or superseded by them. This des*. 
cription will, perhaps, explain to you the ground of one 
of your x)wn remarks, as I was Englishing to you the* 
interesting dialogue concerning the causes^ of the corrup-.' 
tion of eloquence. " What perfect gentlemen these old: 
Romans must have been 1 I was impressed, I remember, 
with the same feeling at the time I was reading a trans* 
lation of Cicero's j)hilosophical dialoe'^es, and of his epis- 
tolary correspondence : while in Plitvy's Letters I 
seemed to have a different feeling — he gave me the no- 
tion of a very y^?ie gentleman." You uttered the words 
as if you had felt that the adjunct had injured the sub- 
stance, and the increased de^rree altered the kind, 
Pliny was the courtier of an absolute monarch — Cicero, 
an aristocratic republican. For this reason the charac- 
ter of gentleman, in the sense to which I have confined 
it, is frequent in England, rare in France, and found, 
where it is found, in age or k^.e latest period of manhood ; 
while in Germany the character is almost unknown. But 
I the proper antipode of a gentleman is to be sought for 
•among the Anglo-American democrats. 

I owe this digression, as an act of justice, to this ami- 
able Frenchman, and of humiliation for myself For in 
a little controversy between us on the subject of 1^ rench 
poetry, he made me feel my own ill behaviour by the 


Siilent reproof of contrast, and when I afterwards apol'o> 
gized to him for the warmth of my language, he answer- 
ed me with a cheerful expression of surprise, and an im- 
mediate compliment, which a gentleman might both make 
wilh dignity, and receive with pleasure. I was pleased, 
therefore, to find it agreed on, that we shouki, if possible, 
take lip our quarters in the same house. My friend went 
vrith him in searcii of an hotel, and 1 to deliver my letters 
♦>f recon.mendation. 

i walked onward at a brisk pace, enlivened not so 
UJt'ch by any thing 1 actually saw, as by the confused 
sense that I was for the first lime in my life on the con- 
tinent ii( our planet. 1 seemed to myself like a liberated 
!>ird that had been hatched in an aviary, who now after 
his Inst soar of freedom poises himself in the upper air. 
Very naturally ] began to wonder at all things, some for 
being so like and some for being so unlike the things in 
England — Dutch women w^th large umbrelfa hats shoot- 
ing out half a yard before ihem, with a prodigal plump- 
ness of petticoat behind — the women of Hamburg with 
caps plated on the caul with silver or gold, or both, bor- 
tlered round with stiffened lace, which stood out before 
Iheir eyes, but not lower, so that the eyes sparkled 
iljrough it — the Hanoverian women with the fore part of 
ihe head bare, then a stiff lace standing up like a wall 
J erpendicular on the cap, and the cap behind tailed with 
an enormous quantity of ribbon which lies or tosses oh 
fhe back: 

*' Their visncmies seem'd like a goodly banner 
Spread in defiance of all enemies." 


-—The ladies all in English dresses, all rouged^ and all 
with bad teeth: which yon notice instantly from their 
contrast to the almost animaL too glossy mothcr-of-pearl 
whiteness, and the regularity of the teeth of the laughing, 
loud-talking country-women and servant girls, who with 
Iheir clean white stockings and with slippers without 
heel-quarters, tripped along the dirty streets, as if ihey 
were secured by a charm from the dirt; with a lightness 
^oo, which surprised me, who had always consideied it 
as one of the annoyances of sleeping in an Inn, that i 
had to clatter up stairs ia a pair of them. The streets 


narrow ; to my English nose sufSciently offensive, and 
explaining at iiist sight the universal use of boots ; with- 
out any appropriate path for the foot-passengers; the 
g.'^ble enda of the houses all towards the street, some ia 
the ordinary triangular form and entirey as the botanists 
say, but the ga'eater number notched and scolloped with 
more than Chinese grotesqueness. Above all, I was 
struck with the profusion of windows, so large and so 
many, that the houses look all glass. Mr. Pitt's Window- 
tax, with its pretty little additional s s\iro\x\.\ug out from it 
like young toadlets on the back of a Surinam toad, wouki 
cerlainly improve the appeaiance of the Hamburg houses, 
uhich have a slight summer look, not in keeping with 
tiic ir size, incongruous with the climate, and precluding' 
that feeling of retirement and self-content, which one 
v» ishes to associate with a house in a noisy city. But a 
conflagration would, I fear, be the previous requisite to 
the production ot* any architectural beauty in Hamburg: 
for verily it is a filthy town. 1 moved on and crossed a 
multitude of ugly bridges, with huge black deformities 
of water v. heels close by them. The water intersects 
the city every where, and would have furnished to the 
genius of Italy tlie capabilities of all that is most beauti- 
iul and magnificeiU in architecture. It might have been 
the rival of Venice, and it is huddle and ugliness, stench 
and stagnation. The Jungfcr Stieg (i. e. young Ladies 
Walkj to vhich my letters directed me, made an excep- 
tion. It is a w alk or promenade planted with treble rows 
of elm trees, which being yearly pruned and cropped, re- 
main slim and dwarf-like. This walk occupies one side 
of a square piece of water, with njany swans on it per- 
iectly tame, and, moving among the swans, showy plea- 
sure boats with ladies in them, rowed by their husbands 
r>Y lovers *^*-***'^-^"***- 

(Some paragraphs have heeii here omitted.) 
Ihus embarrassed by sad and solemn politeness, still 
more than by broken English, it sounded like the voice 
of an old friend when 1 heard tlie emigrant's servant 
inquijing after me. lie had come for the purpose of 
guiding me to our hotel. Through streets and streets 
1 pressed on as happy as a child, and, I doubt not, witU 
a childish expression of wonderment in my busy eyes> 
amused by the wicker waggons with moveable benches. 


across them, one behind the other, (these were the 
hackney coaches ;) amused by the sign-boards of the 
shops, on which all the articles sold within are paint- 
ed, and that too very exactly, thou2;h in a grotesque 
confusion ; (a useful substitute for language in this great 
mart of nations ;) amused with the incessant tinkling of 
the shop and house door bells, the bell hanging over each 
door, and struck with a smalJ iron rod at every entrance 
and exit; — and finally, amused by looking in at the \vin- 
dows, as I passed along ; the ladres and gentlemen drink- 
ing coffee or playing cards, and the gentlemen all smok- 
ing. I wished myself a painter, that 1 might have sent 
you a sketch of one of the card parlies. The long pipe 
of one gentleman rested on the table, its bole half a yard 
from his mouth, fuming like a censer b) the fish pool — 
the other gentleman, who was dealing the cards, and of 
course had both hands employed, held his pipe in his 
teeth, which hanging down between his knees, smoked 
beside his ancles. Hogarth himseH' never drew a more 
ludicrous distortion both of attitude and physiognomy, 
than this effort occasioned ; nor was there u^anting beside 
it one of those beautiful female faces which the same Ho- 
garth, in whom the satyrist never extinguished that love 
of beauty which belonged to him as a poet, so often and 
so gladly introduces as the central figure in a crowd of 
humourous deformities, which figure (such is the power 
of true genius !) neither acts, nor is meant to act as a 
contrast ; but diffuses through all^ and over each of the 
group, a spirit of reconciliation and human kindness ; 
and even when the attention is no longer consciously^ di- 
rected to the cause of this feeling, still blends its tender- 
ness with our laughter: and thus prevents the instructive 
merriment at the whi/ns of nature, or the foibles or hu- 
mours of our fellow-men, from degenerating into the*heart- 
poison of contempt or hatred. 

Our hotel die wilde man, (the sign of which was no 
bad likeness of the landlord, who had engrafted on a very 
grim face a restless grin, that was at every man's service, 
and which indeed, like an actor rehearsing to himself, he 
kt-pt playing in expectation of an occasion lor it) — neither 
^ur hotel, I say, nor its landlord, were of the genteelest 
cla^s. But it has one great advantage for a stranger, by 
being in the market place, and the next neighbour of the 
kuge church of St. >«'icholas : a church witii shops and 


bouses burit up against it, out of which '-^-siis and urarts 
its high massy steeple rises, necklaced near the top with a 
round of large g'ilt balls. A better pole-star couM scarce!/ 
be desired. Long shall I retain the injpression made on 
my mind by the awful echo, so loud and long and tremu- 
lous, of the deep-toned clock within this church, which 
awoke me at two in the morning from adistresstul dream, 
occasioned, I believe, by the leather bed, which is used 
here instead of bed clothes. 1 will rather carry my 
blanket about with me like a wild Indian, than submit to 
thi^ abominable custom. Our emigrant acquaintance 
was, we found, an intimate friend of the celebrated Abbe 
de Lisle : and from the large fortune which he possessed 
under the monarchy, had rescued sufficient r.ot only for 
independence, but for respectability. He had offended 
some of his fellow-emigrants in London, whom he had 
obliged with considerable sums, by a refusal to make fur- 
ther advances, and in consequence of their intrigues had 
received an order to quit the kingdom. . I thought it one 
proof of his innocence, that he attached no blame either 
to the alien act, or to the minister who had exerted it 
again3t him ; and a etill greater, that he spoke of London 
with rapture, and of his favourite niece, who had married 
and settled in England, with all the fervour and all the- 
pride of a fond parent. A man sent by force out of a 
country, obliged to sell out of the stocks at a great loss^ 
and exiled from those pleasures and that style of society 
which Ijabit had rendered essential to his happiness^ 
whose predominant feelings were yet all of a private na- 
ture, resentment for friendship outraged, and anguish for 
domestic affections interrupted — such a man, i think, I 
could dare warrant guiltless of espoinage in any service, 
most of all in that of the present French Directory. He 
spoke with extacy of Paris under the monarchy: and 
yet the particular facts, which made up his description, 
left as deep a conviction on my mind, of French worrh- 
fessness, as his own tale had done of emigrant ingrati- 
tude. Since my arrival in Germany, I have not met a 
single person, even among those who abhoFthe revolution, 
that spoke with favour, or even charity, of the French 
emigrants Though the belief of their influence in the 
origination of this disastrous war, (from the horrors of 
which, North Germany deems itself only reprieved, not 
^cured) may have «ome siiare in the general aversion 


ivi(i) whioli fiiey nre reii;rn\lt:(l ; yet I am deeply per- 
su:uied ihat the ijv git^ater part 'i$ owing to their own 
piofligacy, ta their li'frachcjy and hard- hearted nefs to 
each other, and the domestic misery or corrupt princi- 
ples \vhich so many of tliem have carried into the tami- 
lies of their protectors. My heart dilated with honest 
l>ride, as I recalled to mind the stern yet amiable cha- 
racters of tlie English patriots, v.-iio sought refuge oa 
the Continent at the restoration ! O let not our civil war 
under the first Charles, be par.dlelled with the French 
revolution ! In the former, the chalice overtloued iVoni 
excess of princi[de ; in the latter, from the tennentatiou 
of the dregs ! The former, was a civil war between the 
viitijes ti!rl virtnons prejudices of the two parties ; the 
latter, between ih? vices. The Venetian glass of the 
French monarcl.v shivered and tlew asunder with the 
working* of a dcu,^'e poison. 
K Sept. 20th. 1 Was introduced to Mr. Kiopstock, the 
brother of the poet, -vho again introduced me to protes- 
sor Ebeling, an intelligent and lively man, thougli deaf : 
«o deaf, indeed, that ic vv^is a painful eilort to talk with, as we were obliged to drop all our pearls into a huge 
ear-trumpet. From this courteous and kiad-hearted man 
of letters, (i hope the Geimaij liteniti in general ma}' re- 
semble this first specimen,) I lieard a tolerable Italian 
jjiin, and an interesting ;xnecdote. When Bonaparte was 
in Italy, having been irrilc^ted by some instance of per- 
fidy, he said in a loud and vehement tone, in a public 
company — " 'tis a true proverb, gli liuJiam Uiili ladroni 
(i. e. the Italians all plvndcrcrs.) A Lady had the courage 
to reply, *' iCon tutti ; ma buona parte." (wot all^ but a 
go(jd part, or Buonaparte.) This, I conle:-?, sounded to 
/yiT/cars, as one of the many good things that might hacc 
6ec/z said. The anecdote.i? more valuable : for it instan- 
ces the ways and means of Fjench insinuation. liociiE 
had received much iiiformatlon concerning the face of 
the country from a map of unusual fulncsssand accuracy, 
the maker of which, he heard, resided at Dusseldorf. 
At the storming of Dusseldorf by the French a^m3^ 
Iloche previously ordered, that the house and property 
of this man should be preserved, and entrusted the per- 
formance of the order to an oflicer on whose troop he could 
rely. Finding afterwards that the man had escaped bc,- 
/ore Ihe storming coaimenccuj lloche exclaimed. '* Hk 



had no reason to llee ! it is for such men, not ogaitust' 
them, that the French nation makes war. and consents lo 
shed the blood of its children." You remember Milton'e 
sonnet — 

*' T^ie great Emathian conqueror bid spare 
The house of Pindiirus, when temple and lower 
Went to the ground" 

Now, though the Dusseldorf map-maker may stand in the 
same relation to the Theban bard, as the snail that marks 
its path by lines of film on the whII it crteps over, to the 
eagle that soars sunward, and beats the temj^est with its 
wings ; it does not therefore follow, that the Jacobin of 
France may not be as valiant a general and as good a po- 
litician, as the madman of Macedon. 

From Professor Ebeling's, Mr. Klopstock accompanied 
my friend and me to his own house, where I saw a tine 
bust of his brother. There was a solemn and heavy 
greatness in his countenance, which corresponded to mf 
preconceptions of his style and genius. I saw there, 
likewise, a very fine portrait of Lessing, whose works 
are at present the chief object of my admiration. Flis 
eyes were uncommonly like mine ; if any thing, rather 
larger and more prominent. But the lower part of his 
face and his nose — O what an exquisite expression of ele- 
gance and sensibihty I — There appeared no depth, 
weight, or comprehensiveness, in the forehead. — The 
whole face seemed to say, that Lessing was a m?n of 
quick and voluptuous feelings ; of an active, but light 
fancy ; acute ; yet acute not in the observdion of actual 
life, but in the arrangements and management of the ideal 
w orld, i. e. in taste and iu metaphysics. 1 assure you, 
that I wrote these very words in my memoran(hnn book, 
with the portrait before my eyes, and when I knew ro- 
thing of Lessing but his name, and that he was a Gcrmaa 
writer of eminence. 

We consumed two hours and more over a bad dinner, 
at the table d'Hote. *' Patience at a Ger/non orduwry, 
smiling at tlme.''^ The Germans aie the worst cooks in 
Europe. There is placed for every two persons a bottle-^ 
of common wine — Rhenish and Claret rdternately ; bat 
in the houses of the opulent, during. tlie many and long 
ijitervals of the dicner, the servants hand rcuod glassei^. 


of richer wines. At the Lord of Culpin's they came \n 
this order. Bnrgnndy — Madeira — Port — Frontiniac — ^ 

Pacchiarctti Old Hock Mountain Champagne 

Hock again — Bishop, and lastly, Punch. A tolerahle 
quantum, rnethinks ! The last dish at the ordinary, viz. 
Slices of roast pork, (for all the larger dishes are hrought 
in, cut up, and first handed round, and then set on the 
table) with stewed prunes and other sweet fruits, and this 
followed by cheese and butter, with plates of apples, 
reminded nie of Shakespeare,* and Shakespeare put it 
in my head to go to the French comedy. 

:i(- 'M- -fi- 

Bless me I Why it is worse than our modern English 
plays ! The first act informed me, that a court martial 
is to be held on a Count Vatron,. who had drawn his 
sword on the Colonel, his brother-in-law. The oJTicers 
plead in his behalf — in vain I — His wife, the Colonel's 
sister, pleads with most tempestuous agonies — in vain ! 
She falls into hysterics and fliints away, to the dropping 
of the inner curtain 1 In the second act sentence of death 
is passed on the Count — his wife, as frantic and hysteri- 
cal as before : more so (good industrious creature !) she 
could not be. The third and last act, the wife still fran- 
tic, very frantic indeed ! the soldiers just about to fire, 
the handkerchief actually dropped, when reprieve ! re- 
prieve is heard from behind the scenes : and in comes 
Prince somebody, pardons the Count, and the wife is still 
frantic, only with joy ; that was all ! 

O dear lady ! this is one of the cases, in which laugh- 
ter is followed by melancholy : for such is the Jdnd of 
drama which is now substituted every where for Shak- 
speare and Racine. You well know, that 1 offer violence 
to my own feelings in joining these names. But, how- 
ever meanly I may think of the French serious drama, 
even in ks mort perfect epecimens ; and with whatever 
right I may complain of its perpetual falsification of the 
language, and of the connections and transitions of thought, 
which Nature has appropriated to states of passion ; 
still, however, the French tragedies are consistent works 
of art, and the osffpring of great intellectual power. 

* ** Slender. I br^jiscd my shin \wUh plajm^ witli sword and daera'er 
Ibr a dish of stevvod prunes, aiid by my troth T cannot abide the smell of 
hot meat sincr-." So a^ain ; Emns. '* I will Laake an ead of my diuni?r r 
there's pippl is nnd cheese yei to ccme.*' 



l^'reservuig a fitness in the parts, and a harmony in the 
whole, they form a nature of their own, though a false 
nature. Slill tliey excite the minds of the spectators to 
active ti^onght, to a striving after ideal excellence. The 
soul is not stupified into mere sensations, hy a worthless 
sympathy with oar own ordinary sulTerings, or an empty 
curiosity for the surprising:, undignified hy the language, 
or the situations w^hich avve and delight tlie imagination. 
What, (I would ask of the crowd, iiiat press forward to 
the pantomimic tnigedies and weeping comedies of Kot- 
zebue and his imitators,) what are you seeking ? Is it 
comedy ? But in the comedy of Shakespeare and Moliere, 
the more accurate my knowledge, and the more pro- 
foundly I think, the greater is the satisfaction that min- 
gles witii my laughter. For though the qualities which 
these writers ])ourtray are ludicrous indeed, either from 
the kind or the excess, and exquisitely ludicrous, yet are 
they the natural growth of the human mind, and such 
as, with more or less change in the drapery, i can apply 
to my own heart, or, at least, to whole classes of my 
fellow-creatures. Plow often are not the morajist and 
the metaphysician obliged for the hnppiest illustrations of 
general truths, and the subordinate laws of human thought 
and action, to quotations not only from the tragic charac- 
ters, but equally from the Jacques, Falstaff, and even 
from the fools and clowns of Shakspeare, or lYom the 
Miser, Hypochondriast, and Hypocrite, of Moliere! Say 
not, that I am recommending abstractions : for these 
class-characteristics, which constitute the instructiveness 
of a character, are so modified and particularized in each 
person of the Shaksperian Drama, that life itself docs 
not excite more distinctly that sense of individuality 
which belongs to real existence. Paradoxical as it may 
sound, one of the essential properties of geometry is not 
less essential to dramatic excellence, and (if 1 may men- 
tion his name without pedantry to a lady) Aristotle has 
liccordingly required of the poet an involution of the uni- 
versal in the individual. The chief diierences are, 
that in geometry it is the universal truth itself, wl»ich is 
'uppermost in the consciousness, in Poetry the individual 
form in which the truth is clothed. With the Ancients, 
and not less with the elder dramatists of Engliind and 
France, both comedy and tragedy were considered as 
kinds of poetry. They neither sought m comedy to make 


m hutrh merely, m\:ch less to m^ike us Irjgh by wry 
fires, accidents of jir^on, slana; phrases for the day, or 
the clothin;^ of common-plice morals in metaphors, 
drawn from the shops or mechanic occupations of their 
characters ; nor did they condescend in tragedy to whee- 
dle away the applause of the spectators, by representing 
before th-Mn fic-similies of their own mean selves in all 
their ex'istinc^ meanness, or to work on their shi2:^ish 
sympathies by a p.uhos not a whit more respectable than 
the maudlin tears of drunkenness. Their tragic scenes 
^vere meant to affect us indeed, but within the bounds 
of pleasure, and in union with the activity both of our un- 
derstanding and imagination. They wished to transport 
the mind to a sense of its possible greatness, and to im- 
plant the sperms of that greatness during the temporary' 
oblivion of the woithless '' thing we are,'' and of the pe- 
cuhar state, in which each man happens to be ; suspend- 
ing our individual recollections, and lulling them to sleep 
amid the music of nobler thoiights. 

Hold! (methinks 1 hear the spokesman of the crowd 
reply, and we will listen to him. I am the plaintiff, and 
be he the defendant.) 

Defrndant. Hold ! are not our modern sentimental 
plays tilled with the best Christian morality ? 

Plaintiff. Yes ! just as much of it, and just that 
part of it which you can exercise without a single Chris- 
tian virtue — without a single sacritice that is really pain- 
ful to you ! — just as much ^sjlatters you, sends you away 
pleased with your own hearts, and quite reconciled to 
your vices, which can never be thought very ill of, 
when they keep such good company, and walk hand in 
hand with so much compassion and generosity ; adula- 
tion so loathsome, that you would spit in the man's face 
who dared offer it to you in a private company, unless 
3^ou interpreted it as insulting irony, you appropriate 
with infinite satisfaction, when you share the garbage 
with the whole stye, and gobble it ou;t of a common 
trough. No Caesar must pace your boards — no Antony, 
no royal Dane, no Orestes, no Andromache ! — 

D. No ; or as few of them as pos-ible. What has a 
plain citizen of London, or Hamburg, to do with your 
kings and queens, and your old school-boy Pagan heroes ? 
Besides, every body knows the stories : and what curiosity 
cfkn we fee! -* 


F. What, Sir, not for the manner ? not for the delight- 
ful language of the poet ? not for the situations, the ac- 
tion and reaction of the passions ? 

D. You are hasty, Sir ! the only curiosity, we 
feel, is in the story : and how can we be anxious con- 
cerning the end of a play, or be surprized by it, when 
we know how it will turn out ? 

P. Your pardon, for having interrupted you ! we now 
understand e^ch other. You seek, then, in a tragedy, 
which wise men of old held for the highest effort of hu- 
man genius, the same gratification as that you receive 
from a new novel, the last German romance, and other 
dainties of the day, which canhe enjoyed but once. If 
you carry these feehngs to the sister art of Painting, IVli- 
chael Angelo's Sestine Chapel, and the Scripture Gallery 
of Raphael, can expect no favour from you. You know 
all about them beforehand. ; and are, doubtless, more fa- 
miliar with the subjects of those paintings than with the 
tragic tales of the historic or heroic ages. There is a 
consistency, therefore, in your preference of contempo- 
rary writers : for the great men of former times, those 
at least who were deemed great by our ancestors, sought 
so litle to gratify this kind of curiosity, that they seemed 
to have regarded the siory in a not much higher light 
than the painter regards his canvass ; as that o/i, not 6y, 
which they were to display their appropriate excellence^ 
No work, resembling a tale or romance, can well show 
less variety of invention in the incidents, or less anxiety 
in weaving them toget'^er than the Don Q,uixote of Cer- 
vantes, Its adiainus feel ihe disposition to go back and 
re-peruKe some preced'h^" chapter, at least ten times for 
once th.^t they find ai.y er.^erness to hurry forwards : or 
open the book on tho^e pHTts which ihey best recollect, 
ev-n as we visit those frier^ds oftenent whom we love 
most, and with whose cbar?\crers and actions we are the 
most intim-diely e« ouDinted. In the divine Ariosto, (as 
hi?: rountrYmcii call this, their darling poet) I question 
whether there be e single tale of his own invention, or 
the ek-ments of which, ^ere not familiar to the readers 
of*' old romance." I will pass, by the ancient Greeks, 
who thou2-ht it even necessary to the fable of a tragedy, 
that its sobstance should be previously known. That 
there had been at least fifty tragedies with the same title. 

Vol* !I. 13 


tvould be one of the motives which determined Sopho- 
cles and Euripedes, in the choice of Electra as a sub- 
ject. But Milton— 

D. Aye Milton, indeed ! but do not Dr. Johnson, and 
other great men tell us, that nobody now reads Milton 
but as a task ? 

P. So much the worse for them, of whom this can be 
truly said ! Bat why then do you pretend to admire 
Skakspeare ? The greater part, if not all, of his dramas 
were, as fiir as the names and the main incidents are con- 
corned, already stock plays. All the stories, at least, on 
v.hich they are built, pre-existed in the chronicles, bal- 
lads, or translations of contemporary or preceding English 
writers. WI13, I repeat, do you pretend to admire 
Shakspeare ? Is it, perhaps, that you only prete7id io ad- 
mire him ? However, as once for all, you have dismissed 
the v/ell-known events and personages of history, or the 
epic muse, what have you taken in their stead ? Whom 
lias your tragic muse armed with her bowl and dagger ? 
the sentimental muse, I should have said, whom you have 
seated in the throne of tragedy ? What heroes has she 
reared on her buskins ? 

D. O ! our good friends and next-door-neighbours-^- 
honest tradesmen, valiant tars, high-spirited half-pay offi- 
cers, philanthropic Jews, virtuous courtezans, tender- 
liearted braziers, and sentimental rat-catchers I (a little 
l)luff or so, but all our very generous, tender-hearted 
characters are a little rude or misanthropic, and all our 
misanthropes very tender-hearted.) 

P. But I pray you, friend, in what actions, great or 
interesting, can such men be engaged ? 

D. They give away a great deal of money ; find rich 
dowries for young men and maidens, who have all other 
good qualities ; they browbeat lords, baronets, and jus- 
tices of the peace, (for they are as bold as Hector !) — 
they rescue stage-coaches at the instant they are falling 
down precipices ; carry away infants in the sight of op- 
posing armies ; and some of our performers act a muscu- 
lar able-bodied man to such perfection, that our dramatic 
poets, who always have the actoi-s in their eye, seldom 
fail to make their favourite male character as strong as 
8umpson. And then they take such prodigious leaps ! ! 
And what is done on the stage, is more striking even 
than what is acted. I once remember sfrch a deafening 


explosion, that I could not hear a word of the play for 
half an act after it ; and a little real gunpowder being 
set fire to at the same time, and «melt by all the specta- 
tors, the naturalness of the l^cene was quite astonishing ! 

P. But how ban you connect with such men and such 
Actions that dependence of thousands on the fate of one, 
Which gives so lofty an interest to the personages of 
Shakspeare, and the Greek Tragedians ? How can you 
connect with them that sublimest of all feelings, the power 
of destiny and the controlling might of heaven, which 
seems to elevate the characters which sink beneath its 
irresistible blow ? 

D. O mere fancies ! We seek and find on the pre- 
sent stage our own wants and passions, our own vexatious? , 
losses, and embarrassments. 

P. It i? your poor own pettyfogging nature then, which 
you desire to have represented before you ? not human 
nature in its height and vigour ? But surely you might 
find the former, with all its jo^'S and sorrows, more con- 
veniently in your own houses and parishes. 

D. True ! but here comes a dilference. Fortune is 
blind, but the poet has his eyes open, and is besides a? 
complaisant as fortune is capricious. He makes every thing 
turn out exactly as we would wish it. He gratifies us 
by representing those as hateful or contemptible whom 
we hate and wish to despise. 

P. [aside) That is, he gratifies your envy by libelling* 
your superiors. 

D. He makes all those precise moralists, who affect 
to be better than their neighbours, turn out at last abject 
h3^pocrites, traitors and hard-liearted villains ; and }our 
men of spiiit, who take their girl and their glass with 
equal freedom, prove the true men of honour, and (thai 
no part of the audience may remain unsatisfied) reform 
in the last scene, and leave no doubt on the minds of the 
ladies, that they will make most faithful and excellent 
husbands : though it does seem a pity, that they should 
be obliged to get rid of quahties which had made them so 
interesting! Besides, the poor become rich all at once i 
and, in the final matrimonial choice', the opulent and high- 
born themselves are made to confess, that virtue is the 



P. Excellent! But you have forgotten those brilhant 
ilashes of loyalty, those patriotic praises of the king and 
old England, which, especially if conveyed in a metaphor 
from the ship or the shop, so often solicit, and so unfail- 
ingly receive the public plaudit ! I give your prudence 
credit for the omission. For the whole system of your 
drama is a moral and intellectual Jaco^nam of the most 
dangerous kind, and those common-place rants of loyalty 
are no better than hypocra(5^ in your play-wrights, and 
your own sympathy with them a gross self-delusion. For 
the whole secret of dramatic popularity consists with you, 
in the confusion and subversion of the natural order of 
things, their causes and their effects ; in the excitement 
of surprise, by representing the qualities of liberality, 
refined feeling, and a nice sense of honour, (those things 
rather, which pass among ycu for such) in persons and 
in classes of life where experience teaches us least to 
expect them ; and in rewarding with all the sympathies? 
that are the dues of virtue, those criminals whom law, 
reason, and religion, have excommunicated from our 
esteem ! 

And now, good night ! Truly ! I might have written 
this last sheet without having gone to Germany, but I 
fancied myself taikin<^* to you by your own fireside, and 
can 3^ou think it a small pleasure to me to forget, now 
and tlien, that I am not there. Besides, you and rny other 
good friends have made up your minds to me as 1 am, 
and from whatever place I write, you will expect that 
part of my *• Travels'^ will consist of the excursions in 
my own mind. 



No little fish thrown back again into the water, no fly 
unimprisoned from a child's hand, co\jld more buoyantly 
enjoy its element, than I this clean and peaceful house, 
with this lovely view of the town, groves, and lake of 
Ratzeburg, from the window at which 1 am writing. My 
spirits, certain^, and my health I fancied, were begin- 
ning to sink under the noise, dirt, and unwholesome air 


of our Hamburg hotel. I left it on Sunday, Sept. 23(1, 
with a letter of introduction from the poet Kiopstock, 
to the Amptman of Ratzeburg. The Amptman received 
me with kindness, and introduced me to the worthy pas- 
tor, who agreed to board and lodge me for any length of 
time not less than a month. The vehicle, in which I 
took my place, was considerably larger than ^n English 
stage-coach, to which it bore much the same proportion 
and rude resemblance, that an elephant's ear does to 
the human. Its top was composed of naked boards of 
different colours, and seeming to have been parts of 
different wainscots. Instead of windows there were lea- 
thern curtains with a little eye of glass in each : they 
perfectly answered the purpose of keeping out the pros- 
pect, and letting in the cold. I could observe little, 
therefore, but the inns and farm houses at which we 
stopped. They were all alike, except in size ; one 
great room, like a barn, with a hay -loft over it, the straw 
and hay dangling in tufts through the boards which form- 
ed the ceiling of the room, and the floor of the left. 
From this room, which is paved like a street, sometimes 
one, sometimes two smaller ones, are enclosed at one 
end. These are commonly floored. In the large room 
the cattle, pigs, poultry, men, women, and children, live 
in amicable community ; yet there was an appearance 
of cleanliness and rustic comfort. One of these houses i 
measured. It was an hundred feet in length. The apart- 
menls were taken off from one corner. Between these 
and the stalls there was a small interspace, and here the 
breadth was forty eight feet, but thirty-two where the 
stalls were ; of course, the stalls were on each side eight 
feet in depth. The faces of the cows, &c. were turned 
towards the room ; indeed, they were in it, so that they 
had at least the comfort of seeing each other's faces. 
Stall-feeding is universal in this part of Germimy, a prac- 
tice concerning which the agriculturalist and the poet are 
likely to entertain opposite opinions — or at least, to have 
very different feelings. The wood work of these build- 
ings on the outside is left unplastered, as in old houses 
among us, and being painted red and green, it cuts and 
tasselates the buildings very gayly. From within three 
miles of Hamburg almost to Molln, w^hich is thirty miles 
from it, the country, as far as I could see it, was a dead 


flat, only Taried by woods. At Mollfi it became more 
beautiful. I observed a small lake nearly surrounded 
with groves, and a palace in view, belonging to the king of 
Great Britain, and inhVoited by the Inspector of the Fo- 
rests. We were nearly the same time in travelling the 
thirty-five miles from Hamburg to Ratzeburg, as we had 
been in ^oing from London to Yarmouth, one hundred 
and twenty-six miles. 

The lake of Ratzeburg runs from south to north, 
about nine miles in length, and varying in breadth from 
three miles to half a mile. About a mile from the south- 
ernmost point it is divided into two, of course very un- 
equal parts, by an island, which being connected by a 
bridge and a narrow slip of land with the one shore, and 
by another bridge of immense length with the other 
shore, forms a complete isthmus. On this island the 
town of Ratzeburg is built. The pastor's house or vi- 
carage, together with the Amptman's, Amptschreiber's, 
and the church, stands near the summit of a hill, which 
slopes down to the slip of land and the little bridge, from 
which, through a superb military gate, you step into the 
island-town of Ratzeburg. This again is itself a little 
hill, by ascending and descending which 3^ou arrive at 
the long bridge, and so to the other shore. The water 
to the south of the town is called the Little Lake, which 
however^ almost engrosses the beauties of the whole ; 
the shores being just often enough green and bare to give 
the proper eiTect to the magnificent groves which occu- 
py tse greater part of their circumference. From the 
turnings, windings, and indentations of the shore, the 
views vary almost every ten steps, and the whole has a 
sort of majestic beauty, a feminine grandeur. At the 
north of the Great Lake, and peeping over it, I see the 
seven church towers of Lu^ec. at the distance of twelve 
or thirteen miles, yet as distinctly as if they were not 
three. The only defect in iiie view is, thiit Ratzeburg 
is built entirely of red bricks, and all the houses roofed 
with red tiles. To the eye, therefore, it presents a 
clump of brick-dust red. Yet this evening, Oct. 10th. 
twenty minutes past five, I saw the town perfectly beau- 
tiful, and the whole softened down into complete keeping, 
if I may borrow a term from the painters. The sky 
over Ratzeburg and all the east, was a pore evening, 
blue, while over the west it was covered with light 


sandy clo'ads. Hence, a deep reel light spread over the 
whole prospect, in undisturbed harmonj/ with the red 
town, the brown-red woods, and the yeilow-red reeds on 
the skirts of the lake. Two or three bor.ts, with single 
persons paddling them, floated up and down in the rich 
light, which not only was itself in harmony with all, but 
brought all into harmony. 

I should have told you that I went back to Hamburg 
on Thursday (Sept. 27th) to take leave of my {nend^ 
who travels southward, and returned hither on the Men- 
day following. From Empfelde, a village halfway from 
Ratzeburg, 1 walked to Hamburg through deep sandy 
roads and a dreary flat : the soil every where white, 
hungry, and excessively pulverized ; but the approach 
to the city is pleasing. Light cool country houses, wiiich 
3'ou can look through and see the gardens behind them, 
with arbours and trellis work, and thick vegetable walls, 
and trees in cloisters and piazzas, each house with neat 
rails before it, and green seats within the rails. Every 
object, whether the gror»'th of nature or the work of 
man, was neat and artificial. It pleased me far better, 
than if the houses and gardens, and pleasure fields, had 
been in a nobler taste ; for this nobler taste would have 
been mere apery. The busy, anxious, money-loving 
merchant of Hamburg could only have adopted, he could 
not have enjoyed the simplicity of nature. The mind 
begins to love nature by imitating human conveniencies 
in nature ; but this is a step in intellect, though a lovv^ one 
— and were it not so, yet all around me spoke of inno- 
cent enjoyment and sensitive comforts, and I entered 
with unscrupulous sympathy into the enjoyments and 
comforts even of the busy, anxious, money-loving mer- 
chants of Hamburg. In this charitable and catholic mood 
I reached the vast ramparts of the city. These are 
huge green cushions, one rising above the other, with 
trees growing in the interspaces, pledges and symbols of 
a long peace. Of my return I have nothing worth com- 
municating, except that I took extra post, which answers 
to posting in England. These north German post-chaises 
are uncovered wicker carts. An English dust-cart is 
a piece of finery, a chef d'oeuvre of mechanism, compa- 
red with them ; and the horses ! a savage might use their 
ribs instead of his fingers for a aumeration table. Wber- 


ever we stopped tiis postilion fed his cattle with the 
brown lye bread of vviiich he eat himself, all breakfast- 
ing together, only the horses had no gin to their water, 
and the postillion no water to his gin. Now and hence- 
forward for subjects of more interest to you, and to the 
objects in search of which I left you : namely, the hterati 
and literature of Germany. 

Believe me, 1 walked with an impression of awe on 

my spirits, as VV and myself accompanied Mr. Klop- 

stock to the house of his brother, the poet, which stands 
about a quarter of a mile from the city gate. It is one 
of a row of little common-place summer-houses, (for so 
they looked) with four or five rows of young meagre 
elm trees before the windows, beyond which is a green, 
and then a dead llat, intersected with several roads. 
Whatever beauty (thought 1) may be before the poet's 
eyes at present, it must certiiinly be purely of his own 
creation. We waited a few minutes in a neat little par- 
lour, ornamented w^ith the iigures of two of the muses 
and with prints, the subjects of which were from Klop- 
stock's odes. The poet entered ; I was much disappoint- 
ed in his countenance, and recognized in it no likeness 
to the bust. There was no comprehension in the fore- 
head, no weight over the eye-brcvs, no expression of 
peculiarity, moral or intellectual, on the eyes, nomassive- 
ness in the geneial countenance. He is, if any thing, 
rather below the middle size. He wore Ycry large half- 
boots which his legs filled, so fearfully were they swoln. 
However, though neither \V— - — nor myself could dis- 
cover any indications of sublimity or enthusiasm ^\n his 
physiognomy, we were both equally impressed wjth his 
liveliness, and his kind and ready courtesy. He talked 
in French with my friend, and with difficulty spoke a few 
sentences to me in English. His enunciation was not in 
the least aiTected by the entire want of his upper teeth. 
The conversation began on his part by the expression of 
his rapture at the surrender of the detachment of French 
troops under General Humbert. Their proceedings in 
Ireland with regard to the committee which they had 
appointed, w^th the rest of their organizing system, 
seemed to have given the poet great entertfdnment. 
He then declared his sanguine belief in Nelson's victory, 
and anticipated its conlirmation witb a keen and trium- 


phant pleasure. His words, tones, looks, implied ibe 
most vehement Anti-Gailicanism. The suhject changed 
to literature, and I inquired in Latia concerning the 
History of German Poetry and the elder German Poets. 
To my great astonishment he confessed, that he knew 
very little on the suhject. He had indeed occasionally 
read one or two of their elder writers, but not so as to 
enable him to speak of their merits. Professor Ebehng-, 
he said, would probably give me every information of 
this kind: the subject had not particularly excited his 
curiosity. He then talked of Milton and Glover, and 
thought Glover's blank verse superior to Milton's. 
W — and myself expressed our surprise : and my 
fri-dud ga^e his definition and notion of harmonious verse, 
that it consisted (the Enghsh iambic blank verse above 
all) in the apt arrangement of pauses, and cadences, an^ 
the sweep of whole paragraphs, 

-*' with many a winding bout 

Of linked sweetness long drawn out," 

and not in the even flow, much less in the prominence or 
antithetic vigour of single lines, which were indeed inju- 
rious to the total effect, except where the j were introduced 
for some specific purpose. Klopstock assented, and said 
that he meant to confine Glover's superiority to single 
lines. He told us that he had read Miiton, in a prose trans- 
lation, when he was fourteen,* I understood him thus 

myself, and W interpreted Kiopstock's French as I 

had already construed it. He appeared to know \eTy 
little of Milton — or indeed of our poets in general. He 
spoke with great indignation of the English prose transla- 
tion of his Messiah. All the translations had been bad, 
very bad — but the English was??o translation—there were 
pages on pages not in the ori*:in3i ; — and half tl^e origi- 
nal was not to be found in the translation. W-^ told 

him that I intended to translate a (ew of his odes as spe- 
cimens of German lyrics — he then said to me in English, 

* This was accidentally confirmed to me by an old German g-entlemaa 
at Helmstadt, who had been Klopstock's school and bcd-feiiow^ Among 
otiier boyish anecdotes, he related that the 3 oun^ poet set a particular 
Value on a translation of the Paradise Lost, and always slept with it ua- 
(ier his pillow. 


'^ I wish you would render into Ensjlish some select pas- 
sages of the Messiah, and revenge me of your country- 
man !" It was the liveliest thing which he produced in 
the whole conversation. He told us, that his first ode 
was fifty years older than his last, J looked at him with 
much emotion — I considered him as the venerable father 
of German poetry ; as a good man ; as a Christian ; se- 
venty-four years old ; with legs enormously swolii \ yet 
active, lively, cheerful, and kind, and communicative. 
My eyes felt as if a tear were swelling into them. In the 
portrait of Lessing there was a toupee perriwig, which 
enormously injured the effect of his physiognomy — 
Klopstock wore the same, powdered and frizzled. By 
the bye, old men ought never to wear powder — the con- 
trast between a large snow-white wig and the colour of 
an old man's skin is disgusting, and wrinkles in such a 
neighbourhood appear only channels for dirt. It is an 
honour to poets and great men that you think of them as 
parts of nature ; and any thing of trick and fashioa 
wounds you in them as much as when you see venerable 
yews clipped into miserable peacocks. The author of 
the Messiah should have worn his own grey hair. His 
•powder and perriwig were to the eye what Mr. Virgil 
would be to the ear. 

Klopstock dwelt much on the superior power which 
the German language possessed of concentrating mean- 
ing. He said, he had often translated parts of Homer 
and Virgil, line by line, and a German line proved al- 
ways sufficient for a Greek or Latin one. In English you 
cannot do this. I answered, that in English we could 
commonly render one Greek heroic line in a line and a 
half of our common heroic metre, and I, conjectured that 
ti»rs line and a half would be found to contain no more 
syllables than one German or Greek hexameter. He 
did not understand me ;* and I who wished to hear his 
opinions, not to correct them, vi-xs glad that he did not. 

* Klopslock's ohsevvation was pa rtiy true and partly erroneous. In 
the literal sense of his vvord;s, and if wa confuie the coniparison to the 
average of space required fov the expression of the thought in the 
two languar^'es, it is erroneous. I havp translated some German hexarn- 
T'ters into English hexameters, and find, that on tlie avera-'e, three lines 
Endish will express four iinrsG-^rrnan. Tlie reason is evident : our lan- 
guage abounds in moriosvllalu r^ and dissyliahles. The German, not less 
ihau the Greek, h a polysy^i'^*-''- l^fiS^ai^xi. But ia dnotlicr point of view 


We now took onr leave. At the beginning of the 
French Revolution Kh:>pstock wrote odes of con9:at'j]a- 
tion. He received some honorary presents from the 
French Repubhc (a golden crown 1 believe) and, like 
our Priestly, was invited to a seat in the le^^islatnre, 
which he declined. But when French liberty metamor- 
phosed herself into a fury, he sent back these presents 
with a palinodia, declaring his abhorrence of their pro- 
ceedings ; and since then he has been perhaps more than 
enough an Anti-Gallican. I mean, that in his ji^st con- 
tempt and detestation of the crimes and follies of the Re- 
Tolutionists, he suffers himself to forget that the revolu- 
tion itself is a process of the Divine Providence ; and that 
as the folly of men is the wisdom of God, so are their ini- 
quities instruments of his goodness. From Klopstock's 
house we walked to the ramparts, discoursing together 
on the poet and his conversation, till our attention was 
diverted to the beauty and singularity of the sunset r'.nd 
its effects on the objects round us. There were woods 

€ne remark was not without foundation. For the German, possessing the 
same unlimited privilegp of forming- compounds, both with preposition?, 
and with epithets as l:he Greek, it can express the richest single Greek 
"word in a singhi German one, and is tlius freed from tiie necessity of 
weak or ungraceful paraphrases. I will content myself with one exam- 
ple at present, viz. the use of the prefixed particles, \er, ser, mf, andiveg: 
thus, reissen to rend, verreisscn to rend away, zerreissen to rend to pieces, 
erdrtissen to rend off or out of a thijig-, in the actve ScPse : or schmelzen 
to melt — ver, zer, ent, schmelzen — find in like manner throug:h all the 
verbs neuter and active. If you consider only how much we should feel 
the lo*s of the prefix be, as in bedvopt, besprinkle, besot, especially in 
our poetical lan^ua'fre, and then think that this sarno mode of composi- 
tion IS carried through all their simple and compound prepositions, and 
many of their adverbs; and that with most of these the Germans liave the 
same privileo-e as we have of dividing- them from the verb a.nd placing; 
them at the end of the sentence : you will have no difficulty in compre- 
hending the reality and the cause of this superior power in the German 
of condcnt^inE: meaning, in which its ^rreat poet exulted. It is imoossible 
to read half a dozen pages of VVieland without perceiving that In this re- 
sp.^ct the German has no rival but the Greek. And 3 e t I seem to feel, 
tnit concentration or condensation is not the happiest'mode of express- 
ing this f xcellence, which seemri to consist not so much in. the less time 
requir<'d for conveying an impression, as in the unity and si multr-nt out- 
ness with which the impression is conveyed. It tends to Hiakc their 
h'Kvuapre more picturesque : it dspicfures ilnages better. We have ob- 
taii.f d this power in part by our compound verbs der ved from the Latin; 
and the sense of its great ('ffect no doubt induced our Milton both to the. 
use and the abuse of Latin derivatives. But still thes3 prr fixed particles, 
conveying no sepantte or separable meaning to the mxeie Engl isn r, 
cannot possibly act on the mind with the force or lik^f iiness of an original 
and ho!nogen<i)us language such as the Germ-ru i?, and besides uie^on- 
fined to certain words. 


ill the distance. A rich sandy light (nay, of a much 
de^^l-er coli r than sandy) lay over these woods that 
bl'coken »d in the blaze. Over that part of the woods 
which lay imuiediately under the intenser hght, a brassy 
mi^t fk iter]. The trees on the ramparts, and the peo« 
pic* inovjnr; io and fro between them, were cut or divided 
into equal sei^vnents of '^eep shade and brassy light. Had 
the trees, and the bodies of the men and women, been 
divided into equal se?;ments by a rule or pair of com- 
passes, the portions could not have been more regular. 
All '-rise Whs obscure. It was a fuiry scene ! and to in- 
crease its romantic character, among the moving objects 
thus divided into altci^nate shade and brightness, was a 
beautiful child, dressed with the elegant simplicity of an 
English child, riding on a stately goat, the saddle, bridle, 
and other accoutrements of which were in a high degree' 
costly and splendid. Before I quit the subject of Ham- 
burg, let nie say, i,hat i remained a day or two longer 
than I otherwise should have done, in order to be pre- 
sent at the feast of St. Michael, the patron saint of Ham- 
burg, expecting to see the civic pomp of this commercial 
Repiiblic. I was, however, di-appointed. There were 
no processions, two or three sermons were preached to 
two or three old women in two o^- three churches, and 
St. Michael and hi« patronage wished elsewhere by the 
higher classes, all places of entertainment, theatre, &c. 
being shut up on this day. In Hamburg, there seems to 
be no religion at all : in Lubec it is confined to the wo- 
men. The men seem determined to be divorced from 
their vviv3s in the other world, if they cannot in this. 
Yc< will not easily conceive a more singular sight than 
is presented b}'^ the vart a'^^ie of the principal chTirch at 
Luber, seen from the or;j:an-loft : for beino: filled with fe- 
male servants and perr.on^^ in the same class of life, and 
all their caps having gold and sil/er cauls, it appears 
like a nch pavement of gold and sih er. 

! will conclude this 1-^tter with the mere transcription 

of notes, wh'ch my fiiend ^^V made of his conver- 

saii'^ns -Tith Klopstock, during the irterviews that took 
place ^ftei my departure. On these 1 shall make but 
one remarlc at present, and that will appear a presump- 
tuous one, namely, that Klopstock's remarks on the ve- 
nerable Sdge of Koenigsburg are, to my ovm knowledge, 


injurious and mistaken ; and so far is it from being true^ 
that bis system is now given up, that throughout the 
Universities of Germany there is not a single professor 
who is not, either a Kantean, or a disciple of Fichte, 
whose system is built on the Kantean, and pre-supposes 
its truth ; or lastly, who, though an antagonist of Kant 
as to his theoretical work, has not embraced wholly or 
in part his moral system, and adopted part of his nomen- 
clature. *' Klopstock having wished to see the Calvary 
of Cumberland, and asked what was thought of it in 
England, I went to Remnant's (the English bookseller) 
where I procured the A*ialytical Review, in which is 
contained the review of Cumberland's Calvary. I re- 
membered to have read there some specimens of a blank 
verse translation of the Messiah. I had mentioned this 
to Klopstock, and he had a great desire to ?^e them. J 
walked over to his house and put the book into his hands. 
On adverting to his own poem, he told me he began the 
.Messiah when he was seventeen : he devoted three en- 
tire yeers to the plan without composing a single line. 
He wjis greatly at a loss in what manner to execute his 
work. There were no successful specimens of versifi- 
cation in the German language before this time. The 
first three cantos he wrote in a species of measured or 
nuaierous prose. This, though done with much labour 
and some success, was far from satisfying him. Fie had 
composed hexameters both Latin and Greek as a school 
exercise, and there had been also in the German language 
attempts in that style of versification. These were only 
of very moderate merit. One day he was struck with 
the idea of what could he done in this way ; he kept his 
room a whole day, even went without his dinner, and 
lound that in the evening he had written twenty-three 
hexameters, versifying a part of what he had before 
written in prose. From that time, pleased with his ef- 
forts, he composed no more in prose. To-day he in- 
formed me that he had finished his plan before he read 
Milton. He was enchanted to see an author who before 
him had trod the same path. This is a contradiction of 
what he said before. He did not wish to speak of his 
poem to any one till it was finished ; but some of his 
friends who had seen what he had finished, tormented 
him till he had consented to publish a few books in a 
Vol. II. 14 


journal. He was then, I believe, very young, about 
twenty-five. The rest was printed at different periods, 
fbur books at a time. The reception given to the first 
specimens was highly flattering. He was nearly thirty 
years in finishing the whole poem, but of these thirty 
years not more than two were employed in the compo- 
sition. He only composed in favourable moments ; be- 
sides he had other occupations. He values himself 
wpon the plan of his odes, and accuses the modern lyrical 
writers of gross deficiency in this respect. I hud the 
same accusation against Horace : he would not hear of* 
it — but waved the discussion* He called Rousseau's 
Ode to Fortune a moral dissertation in stanzas. \ spoke 
of Dryden's St. Cecilia ; but he did not seem familiar with 
our writers. He wished to know the distinctions be- 
tween our dramatic and epic blank verse. He recom- 
mended me to read his Herman before I read either the 
Messiah or the odes. He flattered himself that some 
"time or other his dramatic poems would be known in 
England. He had not heard of Cowper. He thought 
that Voss in his translation of Hie Iliad had done violence 
to the idiom of the Germans, and had sacrificed it to the 
Greek, not remembering sufficiently that each language 
has its particular spirit and genius. He said, Lessing was 
the first of their dramatic writers. 1 complained of Na- 
than as tedious. He said there was not enough of action 
in it, but that Lessing was the most chaste of their wri- 
ters. He spoke favourably of Goethe ; but said, that his 
" Sorrows of Werter" was his best work, better than any 
of his dramas : he preferred the first written to the rest 
of Goethe's dramas. Schiller's ** Robbers" he found so 
extravagant, that he could not read it. I spoke of the 
scene of the setting sun. He did not know it. He said 
Schiller could not live. He thought Don Carlos the best 
of his dramas ; but said that the plot was inextricable. — 
It was evident, he knew little of Schiller's works ; in- 
deed, he said he could not read them. Burgher, he said, 
was a true poet, and would hve ; that Schiller, on the 
contrary, must soon be forgotten ; that he gave himself 
up to the imitation of Shakspeare, who often was extra- 
vagant, but that Schiller was ten thousand times more so. 
He spoke very slightingly of Kotzebue, as an immoral 
author in the first place, and next, as deficient in power. 



At Vienna, saH he, they are transported with him ; bai 
we do not reckon the people ot* Vienna either the wisest 
or the wittiest people of Germany. He said Wieland 
was a charming author, and a sovereign master of his own 
language : that in this respect Goethe could not be com- 
pared to him, or, indeed, could any body else. He said 
that his fault Was to be fertile to exuberance* I told 
him the Oberon had just been translated into EngliJsh, 
lie asked me if I wa:3 not delighted with the poem. 1 
answered, that I thought the story W-un to flag about 
the sevtjuui cr crr^Iith book, and observed, that it was 
unworthy of a man of genius to make the interest of a 
long poem turn entirely upon animal gratification. He 
seemed at first disposed to excuse this by-saying, that 
there are different subjects for poetry, and that poets 
are not willing to be restricted in their choice. 1 an- 
swered, that I thought the passion of love as well suited 
to the purposes of poetry as any other passion ; but that 
it was a cheap way of pleasing to ^ix the attention of the 
reader through a long poem on the mere appetite. Well ! 
but, said he, you see that such poems please every 
body. I answered, that it was the proviace of a great 
poet to raise people up to his own level, not to descend 
to theirs. He agreed, and confessed, that on no account 
whatsoever would he have written a work like the Obe- 
ron. He spoke in raptures of Wieland s style, and 
pointed out the passage where Retzia is delivered of her 
child, as exquisitely beautiful. 1 said that 1 did not per- 
ceive any ver}^ striking passages ; but that 1 made allow- 
ance for the imperfections of a translation. Of the thefts 
of Wieland, he sail, 'hey were so exquisitely managed, 
that the greatest writers might be proud to steal as he 
did. He considered the books and fables of old romance 
writers in the light of the ancient mythology, as a sort 
of common property, from which a man was free to take 
whatever he could make a good use of. An Englishman 
had presented him with the odes of CoUins, which he 
had read with pleasure. He knew little or nothing of 
Gray, except his Essay in the church-yard. He com- 
plained of the fool in Lear. 1 observed, that he seem- 
ed to give a terrible wildness to the distress ; but still 
he complained. He asked whether it was not allowed, 
that Pope had written rhyme poetry with more skill thaa 


atiy of our writers. I said, I preferred Dryden, because 
Lis couj)i(^ts bad greater vj«nety in their movement. He 
thought my reason a good one ; but asked whether the 
rhyme of Pope were not more exact. This que.«^tion I 
understood as applying to the final terminations, and ob- 
served to him that J believed it was the case, but that I 
thought it was easy to excuse some inaccuracy in the tinal 
sounds, if the general sweep of the verse was superior. 
f t^hl him that we were not so exact with regard to the 
final endings of lines as the Frcoch. He did not seen* 
to k'^ow that we made no distinction between masculine 
and feminine (i. e. single or double,) rhymes ; at least, 
he put inquiries to me on this subject. He seemed to 
ihijjk, that no language could ever be so far formed as 
that it might not "be enriched by idioms borrowed from 
another tongue. I said this was a very dangerous prac- 
tice ; and added, that I thought Milton had often injured 
both his prose and verse by taking this liberty too fre- 
quently. 1 recommended to him the prose works of 
Dryden as models of pure and native English. 1 was 
treading upon tender ground, as I have reason to sup- 
pose that he has himself liberally indulged in the prac- 

The same day I dined at Mr. Klopstock's, where I had 
the pleasure of a third interview with the poet. We 
talked principally about indifferent things. I asked him 
what he thought of Kant. He said that his reputation 
was much on the decline in G»3rmany. That for his own 
p. it he was not surprised to find it so, as the works of 
Kant were to him utterly incomprehensible ; that he had 
often been pestered by the Kanteans, but was rarely in 
the practice of arguing with them. His custom was to 
produce the book, open it, and point to a passage, and 
beg they would explain it. This they ordinarily attempt- 
ed to do, by substituting their own ideas. I do not want, 
I say, an explanation of your own ideas, but of the pas- 
sage which is before us. In this way I generally bring 
4he dispute to an immediate conclusion. He spoke of 
Wolfe as the first metaphysician they had in Germany. 
Wolfe had followers, but they could hardly l>e called a 
sect, and luckily till the appearance of Kant, about Mteen 
years ago, Germany had not been pestered by any sect 
of philosophers whatsoever, but that each maa had se- 


parately pursued his inquiries uncontrolled by the dogv 
mas of a Master. Kant had appeared ambitious to be the 
founder of a sect that he had succeeded, but that the 
Germans were now coming to their senses again. That 
Nicolai and Engel had in different ways contributed to 
disenchant the nation ; but, above all, the incomprehensi- 
biUty of the philosopher and his philosophy. He seemed 
pleased to hear, that as yet Kant's doctrines had not met 
with any admirers in England — did not doubt but that we 
had too much wisdom to be duped by a writer, who set 
at defiance the common sense and common understandings 
of men. We talked of tragedy. He seemed to rate high- 
ly, the power of exciting tears. I said that nothing w^as 
more easy than to deluge an audience, that it was done 
every day by the meanest writers." 

I must remind you, my friend, first, that these notes, 
&c. are not intended as specimens of Klopstock's intellec- 
tual power, or even *' colloquial prowessy^ to judge of 
which, by an pccidental conversation, and this with 
strangers, and those too foreigners, would be not only 
unreasonable, but calumnious. Secondly, I attribute lit- 
tle other interest to the remarks, than what is deriv- 
ed from the celebrity of the person who made them. 
Lastly, if you ask me whether I have read the Messiah, 
and what I think of it ? 1 answer — as yet the first four 
books only ; and as to my opinion (the reasons of which, 
hereafter,) you may guess it, from what I could not help 
muttering to myself, v/hen the good pastor this morning 

told me, that Klopstock was the German Milton '' a 

very German Milton indeed I ! ! ^Heaven preserve 

you, and 





Quid (^lad prapfafione prapmunierim libellum, oiia conor omiiern of- 
fendiculi iinsum praecidere? Neque quicquam addubito, quin ea candidis 
omnibus faciat «;atis. Quid autem facias istis, qui vel ob ingeiiii ptrtina- 
ciarr sibi satisfieri nolent, vel stiipidiores sint quani ut satisfactioiiem intel- 
!ig:a!it? Nam quern ad modiim J^inionides dixit, Thessalos hebetiores esse 
quam ut posbint a se decipi, ita quondam videas stupidiores quam ut placa- 
ri queant. Adh'dpc, non mirumest, invenire quod calumnietur qui iiinil ali- 
ud quferit nisi quod calumaietur. 

Erasmus, ad Dorpium Teologum. 

In the rifacciamento of The Friend, I have inserted 
extracts from the Condones ad Populum, printed, though 
scarcely pubhshed, in the year 1795, in the very heat 
and height of my antiministerial enthusiam : these in 
proof that my principles of politics have sustained no 
change. In the present chapter, I have annexed to my 
Letters from Germany, with particular reference to that 
which contains a disquisition on the modern drama, a 
critique on the Tragedy of Bertram, written within the 
last twelve months : in proof, that I have been as falsely 
charged with any fickleness in my principles of taste, — 
The letter was written to a friend ; and the apparent ab- 
ruptness with which it begins, is owing to the omission of 
the introductory sentences. 

You remember,- my dear Sir, that Mr. Whitbread^ 
shortly before his death, proposed to the assembly sub- 
scribers of Drury-Lane Theatre, that the concern .should 
be farmed to some responsible individual under certain 
conditions and limitations ; and that his proposal was re* 
jected, not without indignation, as subversive of the main 
object, for the attainment of which the enlightened 
and patriotic assemblage of philo-dramatists had been 
induced to risk their subscriptions. Now, this object was 
avowed to be no less than the redemption of the British. 
stage, not only from horses, dogs, elephants, and the like 
zoological rarities, but also from the more pernicious bar- 
barisms and Kotzebuisms in morals and taste. Drury- 
Lane was to be restored to its furmer classical renown ; 
Shakspeare, Johnson, and Otway, with the expurgated 


irif'Ses of Vanburgli, Congreve, and Wycherly, were; tt> 
ha re-inaugurated in their rightful dominion over British 
audiences ; and the Herculean process was to commence 
by exterminating the speaking monsters imported from' 
the banks of the Danube, compared with which their 
mute relations, the emigrants from Exeter 'Change, and 
Polito (late Pidcock's) show-carts, were tame and inof- 
fensive. Could an heroic project, af once so refined and 
so arduous, be consistently entrusted to, could its success 
be rationally expected from a mercenary manager, at 
whose critical quarantine the lucri bonus ordor would 
conciliate a bill of health to the plague in pei^son ? No T 
As the work proposed, such must be the work masters. 
Rank, fortune, liberal education, and (their natural ac- 
companiments, or consequences,) critical discernment,, 
delicate tact, disinterestedness, unsuspected morals, no- 
torious patriotism, and tried Maca naship, these were the 
recommendations that influenced the votes of the proprf- 
tdary subscribers of Drury-Lane Theatre, these the mo- 
tives that occasioned the election of its Supieme Com-^ 
niitlee of Management. This circumstance alone would 
have excited a strong interest in the public mind, re- 
specting the first production of the Tragic Muse which 
had been announced under such auspices, and had pai:sed 
the ordeal of such judgments ; and the Tragedy, oq 
which you have requested my judgment, was the work 
on which the great expectations, justified by so many 
causes, were doomed at length to settle. 

But before 1 enter on the examinatfon of Bertram, or 
the Castle of St. Aldehrand^ 1 shall interpose a few words 
on the phrase German Drama ^ which 1 hold to be alto- 
gether a misnomer. At the time of Lessing, the Gor- 
man stage, such as it was, appears to have been a flat and 
servile copy of the French. It was Lessing who first in- 
troduced the name and the works of Shakspeare to the 
admiration of the Germans ; and \ should not, perhaps, 
go too far, if I add, that it was Lessing who first proved 
to all thinking men, even to Shakspeare's own country- 
men, tlie true nature of his apparent irregularities^ 
These, he demonstrated were deviations only from the 
Accidents of the Greek Tragedy ; an(i from such acci- 
dents as hung a heavy weight on the wings of the Greek 
Poets, and narrowed their flight within the limits of what 


ne may call the Heroic Opera^ He proved, that in all 
i\w. essentials of art, no less than in the truth of nature, 
Ihe plays of S)».akspeare were incomparably more coin- 
cident with the principles of Aristotle, than the produc- 
tions of Corneille and Racine, notwithstanding the boast- 
ed regularity ot the latter. Under these convictions, 
were Lessing's own dramatic works composed. Their 
deficiency is in de[)th and in imagination ; their excel- 
lence is in the construction of the plot, the good sense 
of the sentin)ents, the sobriety of the morals, and the 
high polish of the diction and dialogue. In short, his 
dramas are the very antipodes of all those which it has 
been the fashion, of late years, at once to abuse and to 
enjoy under the name of tiie German Drama. Of this 
latter, Schiller's Robbers was the earliest specimen; the 
first fruits of his youth, (I had almost said of his boy- 
hood.) aL'd, as such, the pledge and promise of no ordi- 
nary genius. Only as such^ did the maturer judgment of 
the author tolerate the play. During his whole life he 
expressed himself concerning this production, with more 
than needful aspeiity, as a monster not less oifeneive to 
good taste than to sound morals ; and, in his latter years, 
his indignation at the unwonted popularity of the Rob- 
bers^ seduced him into contrary extremes, viz. a studied 
feebleness of interest, (as far as the interest was to be 
derived from incidents and the excitement of curiosity ;) 
a diction elaborately metrical ; the affectation of rhymes ; 
and the pedantry of the chorus. But to understand the 
true character of the Robbers, and of the countless imi- 
tations which were its spawn, I must inform you, or, at 
least, call to your recollection, that about that time, and 
for some years before it, three of the most popular books 
In the German language, were, the translations of Young's 
JS'ighi Thoughts, Hcrvey's Meditations, and Richardcon's 
Clarissa Harlozi-e. Now, we have only to combine the 
bloated style and peculiar rhythm of Hervey, v.hich is 
poetic only on account of its utter untitness for prose, and 
might a*! appropriately be called prosaic, irom its utler 
untitness for poetry ; we have only, I repeat, to combine 
ihese Herveyisms with the strained thoughts, the figura- 
tive metaphysics and solemn epigrams of Young on the 
one' hand ; and with the loaded sensibility, the minute 
detail, the morbid consciousness- of every thought and 


feeling in the whole flux and reflux of the mind, in short, 
the self-involuti«>n and dreamlike conlinuity of Richard- 
son on the other hand ; and then, to add the horrific rn- 
cidents, and mysterious villains — (geniuses of supernatu- 
ral intellect, if you will take the author's words for it, 
but on a level with the meanest rufiSans of the condemned 
ceils, if we are to judge by their actions and contri- 
vances) — to add the ruined castles, the dungeons, the 
trap-doors, the skeletons, the flesh-and-blood ghosts, 
and the perpetual moon-shine of a modern author, 
(themselves the literary brocrd of the Castle of Otran- 
to, the translations of which, with the imitations and 
improvements aforesaid, were about that time beginning 
to make as much noise in Germany as their originals 
were making in England,) — and as the compound oi' 
these ingredients duly mixed, you v»'i!l recognise the so 
called German Drama. The Olla Podrida thus cooked 
up, was denounced, by the best critics in Germany, as 
the mere cramps of weakness, and orgasms of a sickly 
imagination, on the part of the author, and the lowest 
provocation of torpid feeling on that of the readers. 
The old blunder, however, concerning the irregularity 
and wildness of Shakspeare, in which the German did 
but echo the French, who again were but the echoes of 
eur own critics, was still in vogue, and Shakspeare was 
quoted as authority for the most anti Shakspearean Dra- 
ma. We have, indeed, two poets who wrote as one, 
near the age of Shakspeare, to whom, (as the worst cha- 
racteristic of their writings,) the Coryphaeus of the pre- 
sent Drama may challenge the honour of being a poor 
relation, or impoverished descendant. For if we would 
charitably consent to forget the comic humour, the vvit, 
the felicities of style, in other words, a// the poetry, and 
nine- tenths of all the genius of Beaumont and Fletcher, 
that which would remain becomes a Kotzebue. 

The so-called Gennan Drama, therelbre, is English in 
its origiri, English in its materials^ and English by re- 
adoption ; and till we can prove that Kotzebue, or any 
of the whole breed of Kotzebues, whether dramatists or 
romantic writers, or writers of romantic dramas, were 
ever admitted to any other shelf in the libraries of v/ell» 
educated Germans thnn were occupied by their originals^^ 
and apes' apes in tlieir mother country, we shouM sub- 


mit to carry onr own brat on our o\x'n shoulders ; or, la- 
Xher, consider it as a lack-grace returned from transporta- 
tion with such improvements only in growth and manners 
a? young transported co vicls usually come home with. 

I know nothing that contributes more to a clear msight 
into the true nature of any literary phenomenon, than 
the comparison of it with some elder production-, the like- 
ness of which is striking, yet only apparent; while the 
difference is real. In the present case this opportunity 
is furnished us by the old Spanish play, ^u\\\\(^^\ Atheista 
FulmiJiato, formerly, and perhaps still, acted in the 
churches and monasteries of Spain, and which, under va- 
rious names, {Don Juan, the Libertine, ».^'C.,) has had its 
day of favour in every country throughout Europe. A 
popularity so extensive, and of a work so grotesque and 
extravagant, claims and merits philosophical attention and 
investigation. The lirst point to be noticed is, that the 
play is throughout imaginative. Nothing of it belongs 
lo the real world but the nan)esof the places and persons. 
The comic parts equally with the tragic ; the living, 
equally with the defunct characters, are creatures of the 
brain ; as little amenable to the rules ot' ordinary proba- 
bility zs the Satan of Paradise Lost, or the Caliban of 
the Tempest, and, therefore, to be understood and judged 
of as impersonat^^d abstractions Rank, fortune, wit, ta- 
lent, acquired knowldge, and liberal accomplishments, 
with beauty of person, vigorous health, and constitution- 
al hardihood — all these advantages, elevated by the ha- 
bits and syii^pathies of noble birth and national charac- 
ter, are supposed to have combined in Don Juan, so as to 
give him the means ot carrying into all lis practical con- 
sequences the doctrine of a godless nature as the sole 
ground and efficient cause not only of all things, events, 
and appearances, but, likewise, of all our thoughts sen- 
sations, impulses, and actions. Obedience to nature is 
the only virtue ; the gratification of the passions and ap- 
petites her only dictate ; each individual's self-will the 
sole organ through which nature utters her commands^ 

" Self-contradiction is the only wrong ! 
For, by tJie laws of spirit, in the right 
Is every individual character 
That acts in strict consistence with itself^*'' 


That speculative opinions, bowc^ver impious and daring 
they may be, are not always followed by correspondent 
conduct, is most true, as well as that they can scarcely, 
in any instance, be systematically realized, on account of 
their unsuitabieness to human nature and to the institu- 
tions of society. It can be hell, only where it is all hell ; 
and a separate world of devils is necessary for the exis- 
tence of any one complete devil. But, on the other 
hand, it is no less clear, nor, with the biography ot Car- 
rier and his fellow atheists before us, can it be denied, 
without wilful blindness, that the (so called) syste.a of 
nature^ (i. e. materialism, with the utter rejection of mo- 
ral responsibility, of a present providence, and ol both 
present and future retribution,) may influence the cha- 
racters and actions of individuals, and even of commu- 
nities, to a degree that almost does away the distinction 
between men and devils, and will make the page of the 
future historian resemble the narration of a madman's 
dreams. It is not the wickedness o( Don Juan, therefore, 
which constitutes the character an abstraction, and re- 
moves it from the rules of probability ; but the rapid 
succession of the correspondent acts and incidents, his 
intellectual superiority, and the splendid accumulation 
of his gifts and desirable qualities, as co-existent with 
entire wickedness in one and the sam^ person. But this, 
likewise, is the very circumstance which gives to this 
strange play its charm and universal interest. Don Juan is, 
from beginning to end, an intelligible character, as much 
so as the Satan of Milton. The poet asks only of the 
reader, wdiat as a poet he is privileged to ask, viz , that 
sort of negative faith in the existence of such a bein^^, 
which w^e willingly give to productions professedly ideal^ 
and a disposition to the same state of feeling as that with 
which we contemplate the idealized figures of the Apollo 
Belvidere, and the Farnese Hercules. What the lier- 
cules is to the eye in corporeal strength, Don Juan is 
to the mind in strength of character The ideal consiBts 
in the happy balance of the generic with the individual. 
The former makes the character representative and sym- 
bolical, therefore instructive ; because, mutatis mutandis, 
it is applicable to whole classes of men. The latter 
gives its living interest ; for nothing lives or is real^ but 
as definite and individual. To understand this compiiite- 


ly, the render need only recollect the specific state of 
his feelings, when in lookincr at a piclijre of ^he historic, 
(more propevly of t])e poetic or heroic,) class, he objects 
to a particular figure a? being too much of 2i portrait; 
and this interruption of his complacency he feels without 
the least reference to, or the least acquaintance with, 
:\wy person in real life whom he might recognise in this 
figure. It is enough that such a figure is not ideal ; and, 
therefore, not idc<al, because one of the two tractors or 
elements of the ideal is in excess. A similar and more 
powerful objection he would feel towards a set of figures 
which were Diere abstractions, like those of Cipriani, 
and what have been called Greek forms and faces, i. e. 
outlines drawn according to a recipe. These again are 
not ideal, because in these the other element is in excess. 
''Forma for mans per forma m formatam iraiislucens,^^ 
is the definition and perfection of ideal art. 

This excellence is so happily achieved in the Don 
Juan, that it is capable of interesting without poetry, 
nay, even without words, as in our pantomime of that 
name We see clearly how the character is formed ; 
and tJ^e very extravagance of the incidents, and the s\i- 
per-human entireness oi Don Juan^s agency, prevents the 
wickedness from shocking our minds to any painful de- 
gree. (We do not believe it enough for this effect ; no, 
not even with that kind of temporary and negative belief 
or acquiescence which I have described above.) Mean- 
time the qualities of his character are too desirable, too 
flattering to our prid and our wishes, not to make up on 
this side as much additional faith as was lost on the other. 
There is no da^nger (thinks the spectator or reader) of 
my becoming such a monster of iniquity as Don Juan! 
/ never shall be an atheist ! / shall never disallow all 
distinction between right and wrong ! / have not the 
least inclination to be so outrageous a drawcansir in my 
love affairs ! But to possess such a power of captivating 
and enchanting the affections of the other sex ! to be ca- 
pable of inspiring in a charming and even a virtuous wo- 
man, a love so deep, and so entirely personal to me ! 
that even my worst vices, (if I 'were vicious) even my 
cruelty and perfidy, (if I "were cruel and perfidious) could 
not eradicate the passion ! To be so loved for my own 
^^If^ that even with a distinct knowledge of my character. 


she yet died to save me ! this, sir, takes hold of two 
sides of our Haturo the better and the worse. For the 
heroic disinterestedness to which love can transport a, cannot be contemplated without an honourable 
erpoticn of reverence towards womanhood ; and on the 
ot! er hand, it is among the miseries, and abides in the 
dark ground-work of our nature, to crave an outward 
confirmation of that something w^ithin us, which is our 
very self, that something, not made up of our qualities 
and rcicitions, but itself the supporter and substantial ba- 
sis of ail these. Love me, and not my qualities, may be 
a vicious and an insane wish, but it is not a wish wholly 
without a meaning. 

Without power, virtue would be insufficient and inca^ 
. pablft of revealing its being It would resemble the ma- 
gic transformation of Tasso's heroine irto a tree, in 
which she could only groan and bleed. (Hence power is 
necessarily an object of our desire and of our admiration.) 
But of all power, that of the mind is, on every account, 
the grand desideratum of human ambition. We shall be 
as gods in knowledge, was and must have been the^r^^ 
temptation ; and the co-existence of great intellectual 
lordship with guilt has never been adequately represent- 
ed without exciting the strongest interest, and for this 
reason, that in this bad and heterogeneous co-ordination 
we can contemplate the intellect of man more exclusive- 
ly as a separate self-subsistence, than in its proper state 
of subordination to his own conscience, or to the will of 
an infinitely superior being. 

This is the sacred charm of Shakspeare's male charac- 
ters in general. They are all cast in the mould of Shak- 
speare's own gigantic intellect ; and this is the open at- 
traction of his Richard, lago, Edmund, &c. in particular. 
But again ; of all intellectual power, that of superiority 
to the fear of the invisible world is the most dazzling. 
Its influence is abundantly proved by the one circum- 
stance, that it can bribe us into a voluntary submission 
of our better knowledge, into suspension of all our judg- 
ment derived from constant experience, and enable us to 
peruse, with the liveliest interest, the wildest tales of 
ghosts, wizards, genii, and secret talismans. On this 
propensity, so deeply rooted in our nature, a specific 
dramatic probability may be raised by a true poet, if the 
Vol. II. !5 


whole of his work be in harmony ; a dramatic probabi- 
lity, sufficient for dramatic pleasure, even when the com- 
ponent characters and incidents border on impossibility. 
The poet does not require us to be awake and believe ; 
he solicits us only to yield ourselves to a dream ; and this 
too with our eyes open, and with our judgment perdue 
behind the curtain, ready to awake us at the first motion 
of our will ; and meantime, only not to £?i5believe. And 
in such a state of mind, who but must be impressed with 
the cool intrepidity of Don John on the appearance of 
bis father's ghost : 

** Ghost. — Monster ! behold these wounds !'' 

** D. John. — I do ! They were well meant, and well perform- 
ed, I see." 

" Ghost. Repent, repent of all thy villanies. 

My clamorous blood to heaven for vengeance cries, 
Heaven will pour out his judgments on you all. 
Hell g-apes for you, for you each fiend doth call, 
And hourly waits your unrepenting tall. 
You with eternal horrors they'll torment. 
Except of all your crimes you suddenly repent." 

(Ghost sinks.) 

" D. John. — Farewell, thou art a foolish ghost. Repent, 
quoth he ! what could this mean ? our senses are all in a mist, 

'* D. Antonio — (one of D. Juan's reprobate companions.) 
They are not ! 'Twas a ghost." 

*' D. Lopez. — (another reprobate.) I ne'er believed those 
foolish tales before." 

D. John. — Come! 'Tis no matter. Let it be what it will, 
it must be natural." 

** D. Ant — And nature is unalterable in us too.** 

•' D. John. — 'Tis true! The nature of a ghost cannot 
change our's." 

Who also can deny a portion of sublimity to the tre- 
mendous consistency with which he stands out the last 
fearful trial, like a second Prometheus ? 

<♦ Chorus of Devils." 

♦* Statue-Ghost. — Will you not relent and feel remorse .'*" 
'* D. John — Could'st thou bestow another heart on me, I 
miglit. But with this heart I have, I cannot." 
*/D. Lopez. — These thrngs are prodigious." 


'• D. x4nton — I have a sort of grudging to relent, but 
somethiog- holds me back." 

*' D. Lop. — If we could, 'tis now too late. I will not." 
. *' D. Ant.— We defy thee !" 

" Ghost. — Perish ye impious wretches, go and find the pu- 
nishments laid up in store for you !" 

(Thunder and lightning. D. Lop. and D. Ant. are swal- 
lowed up. 

*' Ghost to D. Johx Behold their dreadful fates, and know 

that thy last moment's come !" 

" D. John. — Think not to fright me, foolish ghost ; 1*11 
break your marble body in pieces, and pull down your horse." 
(Thunder and lightning — chorus of devils, &c. 
*• D. John. - These things I see with wonder, but no fear. 
Were all the elements to be confounded, 
And shuf3ed all into their former chaos; 
Were seas of sulphur flaming round about me, 
And all mankind roaring within those fires, 
I could not fear, or feel the least remorse. 
To the last instant I would dare^ thy power. 
Here I stand firrn. and all thy threats condemn. 
Thy murderer [to the ^host of one whom, he had murdered) 
Stands here ! Now do thy worst !" 

[He is swallowed up in a cloud of fire >) 

In fine, the character oi Don John consists in the union 
of everything desirable to human nature, as means, and 
which therefore by the well-known law of association be- 
come at length desirable on their own account, and iiv 
their own dignity they are here displayed, as being em- 
ployed to ends so wwhuman, that in the efiect they ap- 
pear almost as means without an end. The ingredients 
too are mixed in the happiest proportion, so as to uphold 
and relieve each other — more especially in that constant 
interpoise of wit, gayety, and social generosity, which 
prevents the criminal, even in his nf>ost atrocious moments, 
from sinking into the mere ruffian, as far at least, as our 
imagination sits in judgment Above all, the fine suffu- 
sion through the whole, with the characteristic manners 
and feelinjis of a highly bred gentleman gives life to the 
drama. Thus having invited the staUie-ghost of the ;jo- 
vernor whom he had murdered, to supper, which invita- 
tion the marble ghost acceptetl by a nod of the head, 
Don John has prepared a banquet. 

*' D. JoHN\ — Some wine, sirrah ! Here's to Don Pedro's 

ghost— he should have been welcome." 


** D. Lop. — The rascal is afraid of you after death.*' 

{One knocks har'd at the door,) 
" D. John. — {to the servant) --^i^e and do your duty." 
*' Serv. — Oh the devil, the devil !" {marble ghost enters.) 
*' D. John.— Ha ! 'tis the g-host ! Let's rise and receive him ! 
Gome Governor you are welcome, sit there ; if we had thought 
you would have come, we would have staid for you. 

* * if- if- * -H- i(- " -k- * 

Here Governor, your health ! Friends put it about ! Here's ex- 
cellent meat, taste of this rag-out. Come, I'll help you, come 
eat and let old quarrels be fcirji^otten." 

{The g'host threatens him with vengeance,) 

" D. John. — We are too much confirmed— -curse on this 
drj' discourse. Come here's to your mistress ; you had one 
when yon were living- : not forgetting your sweet sister." 

{devils enter.) 

" D. John. — Are these some of your retinue ? Devils say 
you ? I'm sorry I have no burnt brandy to treat 'era with ; 
that's drink fit for devils." &c. 

Nor is the s^ene from which we quote interesting in 
dramatic probability alone ; it is susceptible likewise of 
a sound moral ; of a moral that has more than common 
claims on the notice of a too numerous class, who are 
ready to receive the qualities of gentlemanly courage, 
and scrupulous honour (in all the recognized laws of 
honour,) as the substitutes of virtue, instead ot its orna' 
ments. This, indeed, is the moral value of the play at 
large, and that which places it at a world's distance from 
the spirit of modern jacobinism The latter introduces 
to us clumsy copies of these showy instrumental quali- 
ties, in order to reconcile us to vice and want of princi- 
ple ; while the Atheista Fulminato presents an exquisite 
portraiture of the same qualities, in all their gloss and 
glow ; but presents them for the sole purpose of display- 
ing their hollowness, and in order to put us on our guard 
by demonstrating their utter indifference to vice and vir- 
tue, whenever these and the like accomplishments are 
contemplated for themselves alone. 

Eighteen years ago 1 observed, that the whole secret 
of the modern Jacobinical drama, (which, and not the 
German, is its appropriate designation,) and of all its 
popularity, consists in the confusion and subversion of the 
natural order of things in their causes and efifects : name- 
ly, in the excitement of surprise by representing the 


fjualJties of liberality, refined feeling, and a nice sense 
of honour (those things rather which pass amongst us for 
such) in persons and in classes where experience teaches 
us least to expect them ; and by rewardincj with all the 
sympathies which are the due of virtue, those criminals 
whom law, reason, and religion have excommunicated 
from our esteem. 

This of itself would lead me back to Bertram^ or the 
Castle of St, Mdobrand ; but, in my osvn mind, this tra- 
gedy was brought into connexion with the Libertine^ 
(Shad well's adaptation of the Atheista Fuiminato to the 
English stage in the reign of Charles the Second,) by the 
fact, that our modern drama is (aken, in the substance of 
it, from the first scene of the third act of the Libertine. 
But with what palpable superiority of judgment in the 
original ! Earth and hell, men and spirits, are up in arms 
against Don John : the two former acts cf the play have 
not only prepared us for the supernatural, but accustomed 
us to the prodigious. It is, therefore, neither more nor 
less than we anticipate when the captain exclaims, " In 
all the dangers 1 have been, such horrors 1 never knew. 
I am quite unmanned ;" and when the hermit says, *' that 
he had beheld the ocean in wildest rage, yet ne'er before 
saw a storm so dreadful, such horrid flashes oi lightning, 
and such claps of thunder, were never in my remem- 
brance." And Don John^s bursts of startling impiety is 
equally intelligible in its motive, as dramatic in its effect. 

But what is there to accDunt for the prodigy of the 
tempest at BertranCs shipwreck ? It is a mere supernatu- 
ral effect without even a bint of any supernatural agency; 
a prodigy without any circumstance mentioned that is 
prodigious; and a miracle introduced without a ground, 
and ending without a result. Every event and every 
scene of the play might have taken place as well if jBer- 
iram and his vessel had been driven in by a common 
hard gale, or from want of provisions. The first act 
would have indeed lost its greatest and most sonorous 
picture ; a scene for the sake of a scene, without a w^ord 
spoken ; as suck, thei^efore^ (a rarity without a precedent) 
we must take it, and be thankful ! In the opinion of not 
a few, it was, in every sense of the word, the best scene 
in the play. I am quite certain it was the most innocent : 
and the steady, quiet uprightness of the flame of the 


wax-candles which the monks held over the roaring bil- 
lows amid the storm of wind and rain, was really mira- 

The Sicilian sea coast : a convent of monks : night : 
a most portentous, unearthly storm : a vessel is wreck- 
ed : contrary to all human expectation, one man saves 
himself by his prodijsjious powers as a swimmer, aided by 
the peculiarity of his destination — 

Prior " All, all did perish — 

1st Monk — Change, change those drenched weeds-— 
Pfior — I wist not of thenn — every soul did perish — 

Enter 3d Monk hastily. 
3d Monk — No, there was one did battle with the storm 
With careless desperate force ; full many times 
His life was won and lost, as tho' he recked not — 
Ts'o hand did aid him, and he aided none — 
Alone he breasted the broad wave, alone 
That man was saved." 

Well ! This man is led in by the monks, supposed drip- 
ping wet, and to very natural inquiries he either remains 
silent, or giVes most brief and surly answers, and after 
three or four of these half-line courtesies, '* dashing off 
the monks''' who had saved him, he exclaims in the true 
sublimity of our modern misanthropic heroism — 

** Off! ye are men — there's poison in your touch. 

But I must >ield, for this {what?) hath left me strengthless." 

. So end the three first scenes. In the next, (the Castle of 
St Aldobrand,) we find the servants there equally fright- 
ened V ith this unearthly storm, though wherein it dif- 
fered from other violent storms we are not told, except 
'that Hugo informs us, page 9 — 

piet. — " Hugo, well met. Does e'en thy age bear 

Memor> of so terrible a storm ? 
H,ioo — They have been frequent lately. 
Pic ' — They are ever so in Siciiy, 
Hugo — So it is said. But storms when I was young 

V/ould still pass o'er like Nature's fitful fevers. 

And rendered all more wholesome. ISow" their rage 

Sent thus unsea'-:onab!e and profitless 

Speaks like threats of heaven.'^ 


A most perplexing theory of Siciiian storms is this of oKl 
Hugo! and, what is very remarkable, not apparently 
founded on any great familiarity of his own uith this 
troublesome article. For when Pietro asserts the "• ever 
QHore frequency'^ of tempests in Sicily, the old man pro- 
fesseo to know nothing more of the fact, but by hearsay. 
*' So it is said." — But why he assumed this storm to be 
unseasonable, and on what he grounded his prophecy, (for 
the storm is still in full furjs) that it would be profitless, 
and without the physical powers common to all other vio- 
lent sea- winds in purifying the atmosphere, we are left 
in the dark ; as well concerning the particular points in 
which he knew it (during its continuance) to differ from 
those that he had been acquainted with in his youth. We 
are at length introduced to the Lady imogine, who, we 
learn, had not rested '* through^'' the night, not on account 
of the tempest, for 

" Lon^ 'ere the storm arose, her restless gestures 
Forbade all hope to see her blest with sleep." 

Sitting at a table, and looking at a portrait, she informs 
us — First, that portrait-painters imy make a portrait 
from memory — 

*' The limner's art may trace the absent feature." 

For surely these words could never mean, that a painter 
may have a person sit to him, who afterwards may leave 
the room or perhaps the country ? Second, that a portrait- 
painter can enable a mourning lady to possess a good 
likeness of her absent lover, but that the portrait-painter 
cannot, and who shall — 

" Kestore the scenes in which Ibey met and parted ?" 

The natural answer would have been — Why, the scene- 
painter to be sure ! But this unreasonable lady requires 
in addition sundry things to be painted that have neithi^i* 
lines nor colours — 

" The thoughts, the recollections sweet and bitter 
Or the Eiysian dreams of lovers when they loved.'* 

1 /o 

VVIiich l;i?i; sentGnce must be supposed to mean ; tthen 
they zicre present, and m.iking- love la each othe**. — Then, 
if this portrait couKI speak, U would '' acquit the faith of 
v/omankind." How ? Ihxd she remained constant ? No, 
she has been married to another nnan, v/hose wife she 
now ii. How then ? Why, that in spite of her marriage 
vow, she had continued to yearn and crave for her for- 
mer lover — 

'' This has her body, that her mind : 
Which has ihe better bargain r" 

The lover, however, was not contented with this pre- 
cious arrangement, as we shall soon find. The lady pro- 
ceeds to inform u-s, that during the many years of their 
separation, there have happened in the diiferent parts of 
the world, a nuQiber of'* siicJi things''^ ; even sucli, as in 
a course of years always have, and, till the millennium, 
doubtless always will happ€4^ somewhere or other. Yet 
tiiis passage, both in langnage ;3nd in metre, is perhaps 
among the best parts of the Play. The Lady's loved 
companion and most esteemed attendant, Clotilda, noiv 
enters and explains this love and esteem by proving her- 
self a most passive and dispassionate listener, as well as 
a brief and lucky querist, who asks by c/mrice, questions 
that we should have thought made for the very sake of 
the answers. In short, she very much reminds us of 
those puppet-heroines, for whom the showman contrives 
to dialogue, w^ithout any skill in ventriloquism. This, 
notwithstanding, is the best scene in the Play, and though 
crowded with solecisms, corrupt diction, and offences 
against metre, would possess merits sufficient to out- 
weigh them, if we could suspend the moral sense during 
the perusal. It tells well and passionately the prelimi- 
nary circumstances, and thus overcomes the main diffi- 
culty of most first acts, viz. that of retrospective narra- 
tion. It tells us of her having been honourably addressed 
by a noble youth, of rank and fortune vastly superior to 
her own : of their mutual love, heightened on her part by- 
gratitude ; of his loss of his sovereign's favour ; his disgrace, 
attainder and llight ; that he (thus degraded) sank into a 
vile ruffian, the chieftain of a murderous banditti ; and that 
from the habitual indulgence of the most reprobate ha- 


i)its and ferocious passions, he had become so changed, 
oven in his appearance and feaiures, 

*' That she who bore him had recoiled from him, 
Nor kiio'.vn the alien visage of her ciiiid ; 
Yetslili she (Imr^ginc) lov'd him." 

She is compelled by the silent entreaties gi a father, 
perishing with " bitter shumeful want on the cold earth," 
to give her hand, with a heart thns irrevocably pre-en- 
gaged, to Lord Aldobrand, the enemy of her lover, even 
to the very man who had baiBed his ambitious schemes, and 
was, at the present time, entrusted with the execution 
of the sentence of death which had been passed on Ber- 
tram. Now, the proof of *' woman's love," so industri- 
ously held forth for the sympathy, if not the esteem of the 
audience, consists in this, that though Bertram had become 
a robber and a murderer by trade, a ruffian in manners, 
yea, with form and features at which h\^ orvn mother co\\\d 
not but " recoil," yet she, (Lady Imogine,) '' the wife 
ctf a most noble, honoured Lord," estimable as a man, 
exemplary and affectionate as a husband, and the fond 
father of her only child — that she, notwithstanding all 
this, striking her heart, dares to say to it — 

" But thou art Bertram's still, and Bertram's ever." 

A monk now enters, and entreats in his Prior's name for 
the wonted hospitaiitj/, and *' free noble usage,^' of the 
Castle of St. Aldobrand for some wretched ship-wrecked 
souis, and from this we learn, for the first time, to our 
infinite surprise, that notwithstanding the supernatural- 
ness of the storm aforesaid, not only Bertram, but the 
vv^hole of his gang, had been saved, by what means we are 
left to conjecture, and can only conclude that they had 
all the same desperate swimming pov/ers, and the same 
saving destiny as the hero, Bertram himself. So ends 
the first act, and with it the tale of the events, both 
those of which the Tragedy be£,ins, and those which had 
occurred previous to the date of its Commencement. The 
second disphtys Bertram in disturbed sleep, which the 
Prior, who hanii:s over him, prefers calhng a " starting 
trance," and with a strained voice, that would have 


awakened one of the seven sleepers, observes to the au- 
dience — 

•< HoT7 the lip works' How the hare teeth do grind ! 
And beaded drops course down his writhen brow !"* 

The dramatic effect of which passage we not only con- 
cede to the admirers of this Tragedy, bat acknowledge 
the further advantage of preparing the audience for the 
most surprising series of wry faces, proflated mouths, and 
lunatic gestures that were ever '* launched''' on an audi- 
ence to " sear the sense,''''] 

Prior — " I will awake him from this horrid trance^ 

This is no natural sleep ! Ho, vjakc thee^ stranger.*' 

This is rather a whimsical application of the verb re- 
tiex we must confess, though we remember a similar 
transfer of the agent to the patient in a manuscript 
Tragedy, in which the Bertram of the piece, pros- 
trating a man with a single blow of his fist, exclaims 
— ^' Knock me thee down, then ask thee if thou liv'st." — 
Well, the stranger obeys ; and whatever his sleep might 
have been, his waking was perfectly natural, for lethargy 
itself could not withstand the scolding stentorship of Mr. 
Holland, the Prior. We next learn from the best autho- 
rity, his own confession, that the misanthropic hero, 
whose destiny was incompatible with drowning, is Count 
Bertram, who not only reveals his past fortunes, but 

* 1' The big round tears 

Coursed one another down his innocent nose 

In piteous chase," 
says ShaAspeare of a wounded stag-, hanpng his head over a stream : na- 
turally, from the position of the head, and most beutifully, from the asso- 
ciation of the preceding" ima^^e, of the cliase, in which ** the poor seques- 
ter'd stag- from thie hunter's aim had ta'en a hurt." In the supposed position 
of Eertiam, the metaphor, if not false, loses all the propriety of the 

f Among- a number of other instance's of words chosen without reason, 
Imofiine, in the first act, declares that thunder-storms were not able to in- 
tercept her pra} ers for " the desperate man, in desperate nays who- 

" Yea, when the launched bolt did sear her sen^e, 

Her souFs deep orisons were bri;athed for him ;" 
i e. when a red-hot bolt, launched at her from a thunder-cloud, hftd cau- 
terized her sense, in plain Enj^'Iish, burnt her eyes cut of her head, »lie 
kept still prayins, on 

" Was not iliis love ? Yea, thus doth^oineii love I" 


avows with open atrocity, his satanic hatred of Imogine's 
Lord, and his frantic thirst of revenge ; and so the rav- 
ing character raves, and the scoidins: char^tcter scolds — 
and M'hat else ? Does not the Prior act ? Does be not 
• end for a posse of constables or thieftakers, to handcuff 
the villain, and take him either to Bedlam or Nevv.gate ? 
Nothing of the kind ; the author preserver the unity of 
character, and the scolding Prior from first to last does 
nothing but scold, vvi^^h the exception, indeed, of the last 
scene ofthi- last act, in which, with a most surprising re- 
volution, be whmes, weeps and kneels to the tor^demned 
bla>^pheming assassin out of pure affection to the high- 
hearted man, the sublimity of whose angel-sin rivals the 
star-bright apostate, (i. e. who was as proud as Lucifer, 
and as wicked as the Devil,) and *' iiad ihriiled him" 
(Prior Holland aforesaid) with wild admiration. 

Accordingly, in the very next scene, we have this tra- 
gic Macheath, with his whole gang, in the Castle of St. 
Aldobrand, without any attempt on the Prior's part either 
to prevent him, or to put the mistress and servants of the 
Castle on their guard against their new inmates, though 
he (the Prior) knew, ;^nd confesses that he knew, that 
Bertram's *' fearful mates" were assassins so habituated 
and naturalized to guilt, that — 

*' When their drenched hold forsook both gold and gear, 
They griped their daggers with a murderer's instinct ;" 

and though he also knew, that Bertram was the leader 
of a band whose trade was blood. To the Castle, how- 
ever, he goes, thus with the holy Prior's consent, if not 
with his assistance ; and thither let us follow him. 

No sooner is our hero safely housed in the castf^ of 
St. Aldobrand, than he attracts the notice of the lady\and 
her confidante, by his "- wild and terrible dark eyes," 
** muffled form," '' fearful form,"^ " darkly wild," 

* This sort of repetition is one of this writer's pe«-uHarities, and there 
is scarce a page vvliich does not furnish one or more instances — E>i. gr. 
in the f.rstpa^e or two. Act I. hne 7th, " and deemed that I might sleep.'* 
— Line 10, ^' Did rock and quiver in the bickc^rinj^- ^/;7re." — Lines i4, l5, 
IB, '* But by the momently glenrns of sheeted blue^ Did the pale marbles 
glare so siernly on me, I almost daemed thevlived "— Line 37, " The glare 
of Hell. "—Line 35, " O holy Prior, this 'is no earthly .storm."— Line .38, 
" This is no earthly siorm.^^ — Line 42, "■ Denling w'tl. us." — Line 43, 
" Deal thus sterDl7."~Line 44, " Spealt I thou liast something semP'—'' A 


'* proudly stern," and the like common place indefinites, 
seasoncL^ l>y nierely verbal antitheses, and, at best, copied, 
with very slight cliange, from the Conrade of Southey's 
Joan of Arc. The lady Imo^ine, who has been (as is the 
case, she tells us, with all soft and solemn spirits) rsjor- 
shipping the moon on a terrace or rampart within view 
of tlie castle, insists on having an interview with our hero, 
and this, too, tete-a-tete. Would the reader learn why 
and wherefore the confidante is exchided, who very 
properly remonstrates against such '* conference, alone, 
at night, with one who bears such fearful form" — the 
reason foHowi^ — *' wh}^, therefore send him I" I sny^fol- 
lozf)s, because the next line, *' all things of fear have lost 
their power over me," is separated from the former by 
a break or pause, and beside that it is a very poor an- 
swer to the danger — is no ansv/er at all to the gross 
indelicacy of this wilful exposure. We must, 
therefor^, regard it as a mere afterthought, that a 
little softens the rudeness, but adds nothing to the 
weight of that exquisite woman's reason aforesaid. And 
so exit Clotilda and enter Bertram, who " stands without 
looking at her," that is, with his fower limbs forked, his 
arms akimbo, his side to the lady's front the whole figure 
resembling an inverted Y. He is soon, however, roused 
from the r4at8 surly to the state frantic, and then follow 
raving, yelling, cursing, she fainting, he relenting, in 
runs Imogine's child, squeaks "mother I" He snatches 
it up, and with a " God bless thee, child I Bertram has 
kissed thy child," — the curtain drops. The third act is 
short, and short be our account of it. It introduces Lord 
St. Aldobrand on his road homeward, and next Imogine 
in the convent, confessing the foulness of her heart to the 
prior, who first indulges his old humour with a fit of 
senseless scolding, then leaves her alone with her ruf- 
fian paramour, with whom she makes at once an infamous 
appointment, and the curtain drops, that it may be carri- 
ed into act and consummation. 

I want w^ords to describe the mingled horror and dis- 
gust w^ith which 1 witnessed the opening of the fourth 
act, considering it as a melancholy proof of the deprava- 
tion of the public mind. The shocking spirit of jacobin- 

fmrful si^ht /'*— Line 43, " Whathast thou seenf A mteous, fearful sight.''^—^ 
Line-iS, '•^ (quivering gleams y — Line 50, "In the hollow fQU5es?/<Ae storm/' 
—Line 6l, " Jhv. pauses ff the storin,''^ &c. 


ism seemed no longer confined to politics. The fami- 
liarity with atrocious events and characters appeared to 
have poisoned the taste, even where it had not directly 
disorganized the moral principles, and left the feelings 
callous to all the mild appeals, and craving alone for the 
grossest and most outrageous stimulants. The very fact 
then present to our senses, that a British audience could 
remain passive under such an insult to common decency, 
nay, receive with a thunder of applause, a human being 
supposed to have come reeking from the consummation 
of this complex foulness and baseness, these and the like 
reflections so pressed as with the weight of lead upon my 
heart, that actor, author, and tragedy would have been 
forgotten, had it not been for a plain elderly man sitting 
beside me, who, with a very serious flice, that at once 
expressed surprize and aversion, touched my elbow, and 
pointing to the actor, said to me in a half-whisper — *' Do 
you see that little fellow there ? he has just been com- 
mitting adultery !" Somewhat relieved by the laugh 
which this droll address occasioned, I forced back my at- 
tention to the stage sufficiently to learn, that Bertram is 
recovered from a transient fit of remorse, by the informa- 
tion that St. Aldobrand was commissioned (to do, what 
every honest man must have done without commis- 
sion, if he did his duty) to seize him and deliver him to 
the just vengeance of the law ; an information which (as 
he had long known himself to be an attainted traitor and 
proclaimed outlaw, and not only a trader in blood himself, 
but notoriously the Captain of a gang of thieves, pirates 
and assassins) assuredly could not have been new to him. 
It is this, however, which alone and instantly restores 
him to his accustomed state of raving, blasphemy, and- 
nonsense. Next follows Imogine's constrained interview 
with her injured husband, and his sudden departure again, 
all in love and kindness, in order to attend the feast of 
St. Anselm at the convent. This was, it must be owned, 
a very strange engagement for so tender a husband to 
make within a few minutes after so long an absence. 
But first his lady has told him that she has *' a vow on 
her," and wishes " that black perdition may gulf her per- 
jured soul," — (Note : she is lying at the very time) — if 
she ascends his bed, till her penance is accomplished. 
How, therefore, is the poor husband to amuse himself in 
Vpi. IL 16 


this interval of her penance ? But do not be distressed, 
reader, on account of the St. Aldobrand's absence! As 
the author has contrived to send him out of the house, 
when a husband would be in his, and the lover's way, so 
he will doubtless not be at a loss to bring him back again 
as soon as he is wanted. Well ! the husband gone in on 
the one side, out pops the lover from the other, and for 
the fiendish purpose of harrowing up the soul of his 
wretched accomplice in guilt, by announcing to her with 
most brutal and blasphemous execrations his fixed and 
deliberate resolve to assassinate her husband ; all this 
too is for no discoverable purpose, on the part of the au- 
thor, but that of introducing a series of super-tragic starts, 
pauses, screjims, strugglin<r, dagger-throwing,, falling on 
the ground, starting up again wildly, swearing, outcries 
for help, falling again on the ground, rising again, faintly 
tottering towards the door, and, to end the scene, a most 
convenient fainting fit of our lady's, just in time to give 
Bertram an opportunity of seeking the object of his ha- 
tred, before she alarms the house, which indeed she has 
had full time to have done before, but that the authoi: 
rather chose she should amuse herself and the audience 
by the above-described ravings and startings. She re- 
covers slowly, and to her enter Clotilda, the confidante 
and mother confessor ; then commences what in theatri- 
Cil language, is called the madness, but which the author 
more accurately entitles, delirium, it appearing indeed a 
sort of intermittent fever with fits of light-headedness off 
and on, whenever occr^sion and stage effect happen to call 
for it. A convenient return of the storm (we told the 
reader before-hand how it would be) had changed 

*^ The rivulet that bathed the Convent walls. 
Into a foaming fiood : upon its brink 
The Lord and his small train do stand appalled. 
With torch and bell from their high battlement^ 
The monks do sunimon to the pass in vain ; 
He must return to-night.'* — 

Talk of the devil and his horns appear, says the pro* 
verb : and sure enough, within ten lines of the exit of 
the messenger sent to stop him, the arrival of Lord St. 
Aldobrand is announced. Bertram's ruffian-band now 
enter, and range themselves across the stage, giving fresh 


'Cause for Imogine's screams and madness. St. Aldobvand 
having received his mortal wound behind the scenes, 
totters in to welter in his blood, and to die at the feet of 
this double-damned adultress. 

Of her, as far as she is concerned in this 4th act, we 
have two additional points to notice : first, the low cun- 
ning and Jesuitical trick with which she deludes her hus- 
band into zi'ords of forgiveness, which ho himself does 
not understand ; and secondly, that everywhere she is 
ma de the object of interest and sympatb}-, and it is not the 
author's fault, if at any moment she excites feelings less 
|!^entle than those we are accustomed to associate with 
the self-accusations ofa sincere, religious penitent. And 
did a British audience endure all this ? — They received 
it with plaudits, which, but for the rivalry of the carts 
and hackney coaches, might have disturbed the evening- 
prayers of the scanty week day congregation at St. Paul's 

Terapora mutantwr, nos et mutamur in iilis. 

Of the fifth act, the only thing noticeable (for rant anti 
nonsense, though abundant as ever, have long before the 
last act, become things of course,) is the profane repre- 
sentation of the high altar in a chapel, with all the vessels 
and other preparations for the holy sacrament. A hymn 
is actually sung on the stage by the choirester boys ! 
For the rest, Imogine, who, now and then talks delirious- 
ly, but, who is always light-headed as far as her gown and 
hair can make her so, wanders about in dark woods with 
.cavern-rocks and precipices in the back scene ; and a 
number of mute dramatis personae move in and out con- 
tinually, for whose presence, there is always, at least, this 
reason, that they afford something to be seen, by that 
very large part of a Drury-lane audience, who have 
small chance of hearing a word. She had, it appears, 
taken her child with her ; but what becomes of the child, 
whether she murdered it or not, nobody can tell, nobody 
can learn ; it was a riddle at the representation, and, after 
^ most attentive perusal of the Play, a riddle it remains. 

** No more I know, I wish I did 
And I would tell it all to you ; 
For what became of this poor child 
There's none that ever knew." 

Wordsworth's Thorn. 


Our wliole information^ is derived from the following 
words — 

*' Prior. — Where is thy child? 
Clotil. — (Pointing to the cavern into which she had looked) 
Ob he lies cold within his cavern tomb ! 
Why dost thou urge her with the horrid theme? 
Prior. — (who will not, the reader may observe, be disap- 
pointed of his dose ofscoldiug") 
It was to make (quere wake) one living cord o'th'heart, 
And I will try, tho' my own breaks at it. 
Where is thy child ? 
Imog-. — (With a frantic laugh) 
The forest-fiend had snatched him— 
He (who ? the fiend or the child ?) rides the night-raare 
thro' llie wizzard woods." 

Now, these two lines consist in a senseless plagiarism from 
the counterfeited madness of Edgar in Lear, who, in imi- 
tation of the gipsy incantations, puns on the old word 
Mair, a Hag ; and the no less senseless adoption of Dry- 
den's forest-iiend, and the wizzard-stream by which Mil- 
ton, in his Lysidas, so finely characterizes the spreading 
Deva, fabulosus Amnis. Observe, too, these images stand 
unique in the speeches of Imogine, without the slightest 
resemblance to any thing she says before or after. But 
we are weary. The characters in this act frisk about, 
here, there, and every vvhere, as teazingly as the Jack 
o^lanthorn-light?, which mischievous boys, from across a 
TKirrow street, throw with a looking-glass on the faces 
of their opposite neighbours. Bertram disarmed, out- 
he roding Charles de Moor in the Robbers, befaces the 
collected nights of St. Anselm, (all in complete armour,) 
and so, by pure dint of black looks, he outdares them 
into passive poltrons. The sudden revolution in the 
Prior's manners we have before noticed, and it is in- 
deed so outre, that a number of the audience imagined a 
great secret was to come out, viz. that the Prior was 
one of the many instances of a youthful sinner, me- 
tamorphosed into an old scold, and that this Bertram 
would appear at last to be his son. Imogine re-appears 
at the convent, and dies of her own accord. Bertram 

* The child is an important personage, for I see not by what possible 
means the author could have ended the second and third acts, but 'for its 
'imely appearance How ungrateful, then, not further to notice its fate : 


stabs himself, and dies by her side^ and that the play may 
conclude as it began, viz. in a superfetation of blasphe- 
my upon nonsense, because he had snatched a sword from a 
despicable coward, who retreats in terror when it is 
pointed towards him in sport ; this felo de se, and thief- 
captain, this loathsome and leprous confluence of robbery, 
adultery, murder, and cowardly assassination, this mon- 
ster, whose best deed is, the having saved his betters 
from the degradation of hanging him, by turning jack 
lietch to himself, first recommends the charitable Monks 
and holy Prior to pray for his soul, and then has the fol- 
ly and impudence to exclaim — 

* I died no felon's death, 
A warrior's weapon freed a warrior's soul I—'* 




It sometimes happens that we are punished for our 
faults by incidents, in the causation of which these faults 
had no share ; and this I have always felt the severest 
punishment. The wound, indeed, is of the same dimen- 
sions ; but the edges are jagged, and there is a dull un- 
der-pain that survives the smart which it had aggravated. 
For there is always a consolatory feeling that accompa* 
nies the sense of a proportion between antecedents and 
consequents. The sense of before and after becomes 
both intelligible and intellectual when, and only whin, 
we contemplate the succession in the relations of cause 
and effect, which, like the two polt^s rn the magnet, mani- 
fest the being and unity of the one power by relative 
opposites, and give, as it wx*re, a substratum of perma- 
nence, of identity, and, therefore, of reality to the sha- 
dowy flux of time, it is eternity revealing itself in the 
phenomena of time ; and the perception and acknow- 
ledgment of the proportionality and apprupriateness of 
the present to the past, prove to the afflicted soul that it 
has not y^i been deprived of the sight of God ; that it 
can still recognise the effective presence of a Father^ 
though through a darkened glass and a turbid atmosphere, 
though of a Father that is chastising it. And fc^r this 
cause, doubtless, are we so framed in mind, and even s& 
organized in brain and nerve, that all confusion is painful. 
It is within the experience of many medical practition- 
ers, that a patient, with strange and unusual symptoms 
oi disease, has been more distressed in mind, more 
ivretched, from the fact of being unintelligrble to him- 
self and others, than from the pain or danger of the dis« 
ease ; nay, that the patient has received the most solid 
comfort, and resumed a genial and enduring cheerfulness, 
from some new symptom or product, that had at once de- 
termined the name and nature of his complaint, and ren- 
dered it an intelligible effect of an intelligible cause ; 
v^yen though the discovery did at the same moment pi^e- 


cluJe all hope of restoration. Hence the rnyakic tbeo- 
logians, whose delusions we may more confidently hope 
(o separate from, their actual intuitions, when we conde- 
scend to read their works without the presumption that 
whatever our fancy, (always the ape, and too often the 
adulterator and counterfeit of our memory,) has not made 
or cannot make a picture of, must be nonsense ; hence, 
I say, the Mystics have joined in representing the state of 
the reprobate spirits as a dreadful dream in which there 
is no sense of reality, not even of the pangs they are en- 
during — an eternity without time, and, as it were, below 
it — God present, without manifestation of his presence. 
But these are depths which we dare not linger ovej. 
Let us turn to an instance more on a level with the ordi- 
nary sympathies of mankind. Here, then, and in this 
same healing influence of light and distinct beholding, 
we may detect the final cause of that instinct which, in 
the great majority of instances, leads and almost compels 
the afflicted to communicate their sorrows. Hence, too, 
ilows the alleviation that results from " opening out our 
griefs ;" which are thus presented in distinguishable tbrms 
instead of the mist through which whatever is shapeless 
becomes njagnified and (literally) enonnous, Casimir, 
in the fifth ode of his third book,. has happily expressed 
this thoijght,* 

Me longus silent 
Edit amor ; facilesque Luctus 
Hausit medullas. Fugerit ocius, 
Simul negantem visere jusseris 
Aures amicorum, et loquacem 
Qoestibus evacuaris iram. 

* ZHassically, too, as far as consists with the allegorizing fancy of the 
modern^ that still striving to project the inward, contra-distinguisiies itself 
from the seeming ease with which the poetry of the ancients reflects ^e 
"world without. Casimir affords, perhaps, the most striking instance of 
-this characteristic difference ; for his siyh and diction are really classical, 
while Cowley, who resembles Casimir in many respects, completely bar- 
barizes his Latinity, and even his metre, by the heterogeneous nature of 
his thoughts. That Dr. Johnson should have passed a contrary judg- 
ment, and have even preferred Cowley's Latin poems to Milton's, is a ca- 
price that has, if I mistake not, excited the sui-prisy of all scholars. I 
was much amused last summer with the lau^^hablc affright with which an 
Italian poet perused a pa^e of Cowley's Davideis, contrasted with the 
•enthusiasm with which he tirst ran through, and the» read aloud, Miltoo^ 
^ansus and Ad Patrem. 


Ohm querendo desinimus queiH. 
Ip&oque fletu lacryma perditur, 
Nee fortis aeque, si per omoes 
Cura volet residctque ramos. 

Vires amicis perdit in auribus 
Minorque semper dividitur dolor 
Per multa permissus vagari 
Pectora. — 

Id. Lib. iii. Od. 5. 

1 shall not make this an excuse, however, for troubling 
my readers with any complaints or explanations, with 
which, as readers, they have little or no concern. It may 
suffice, (for the present at least,) to declare that the 
causes that have delayed the publication of these vo- 
lumes for so long a period after they had been printed 
off, were not connected with any neglect of my own ; 
and that they would form an instructive comment on the 
chapter concerning authorship as a trade, addressed to 
young men of genius in the first volume of this work. I 
remember the ludicrous effect which the first sentence of 
an auto-biography, which, happily for the writer, was as 
meagre in incidents as it is well possible for the life of an 
individual to be — ^"The eventful \i(e which I am about 
to record, from the hour i;i which I rose into exist on 
this planet, &c " Yet when, notwithstanding this w^arn- 
ing example of self-importance before me, 1 review my 
ow'n life, I cannot refrain from applying the same epithet 
to it, and with more than ordinary emphasis — and no pri- 
vate feeling, that affected myself only, should prevent me 
from publishing the same, (for write it I assuredly shall, 
should life and leisure be granted me) if continued re- 
ilection should strengthen my present belief, that my his- 
tory would add its contingent to the enforcement of one 
important trutii, viz. that we must not only love our 
neighbours as ourselves, but ourselves likewise as our 
neighbours; and that we can do neither unless we love 
God above both. 

Who lives, that's not 
Depraved or depraves ? Who dies, thai bears 
'JS*ot one sfiurn to the grave — of their friends.^ gift J 


Strange as the delusion may appear, yet it is most true, 
that three years ago I did not know or believe that I had 
an enemy in the world ; and now even my strongest sen- 
sations of gratitude are mingled with fear, and I reproach 
myself for being too often disposed to ask — Ha- e I one 
friend ? — During the many years which intervened be- 
tween the composition and the publication of the Chris- 
table, it became almost as well known among literary 
men as if it had been on common sale, the same referen- 
ces were made to it, and the same liberties taken with 
it, even to the very names of the imaginary persons in 
the poem. From almost all of our most celebrated Po- 
€ts, and from some with whom I had no personal ac- 
quaintance, I either received or heard of expressions of 
xidmiration that (I can truly say) appeared to myself ut- 
terly disproportionate to a work that pretended to be 
nothing more than a common Faery Tale. Many, who 
had allowed no merit to my other poems, whether print- 
ed or manuscript, aud who have frankly told me as much, 
uniformly made an exception m favour of the Ghrista- 
BEL and the Poem entitled Love. Year after year, and 
in societies of the most different kinds, I had been en- 
treated to recite it ; and the result was still the same in 
all, and altogether different in this respect from the effect 
produced by the occasional recitation of any other poems 
I had composed. — This before the publication. And 
since then, with very few exceptions, I have heard no- 
thing but abuse, and this too in a spirit of bitterness at 
least as disproportionate to the pretensions of the poem, 
had it been the most pitiably below mediocrity, as the 
previous eulogies, and far more inexplicable. In the 
Edinburgh Review it was assailed with a malignity and a 
spirit of personal hatred that ought to have injured only 
the work in which such a tirade was suffered to ap- 
pear ; and this review was generally attributed (whether 
rightly or no I know not) to a man who, both in my pre- 
sence and in my absence, has repeatedly pronounced it 
the finest poem of its kind in the language. This may 
serve as a warning to authors, that in their calculations 
on the probable reception of a poem, they must subtract 
to a large amount from the panegyric ; which may have 
encourged them to publish it, however unsuspicious and 
ihowever various the sources of this panegyric may have 


been. AnJ, first, allowances must be made for private 
enmity, of the very existence of which they had per- 
haps entertained no suspicion — for personal enmity be- 
hind the mask of anonymous criticism : secondly, for the 
necessity of a certain proportion of abuse and ridicule in 
a Review, in order to make it saleable ; in consequence 
of which, if they have no friends behind the scenes, the 
chance must needs be against them ; but lastly, and chief- 
ly, for the excitement and temporary sympathy of feel- 
ing, which the recitation of the poem by an admirer, 
especially if he be at once a warm admirer and a man of 
acknowledged celebrity, calls forth in the audience. 
For this is really a species of Animal Magnetism, in 
which the enkindling Reciter, by perpetual comment of 
looks and tones, lends his own will and apprehensive 
iliculty to his Auditors. They live for the time within 
the dilated sphere of his intellectual Being. It is equal- 
ly possible, though not equally common, that a reader 
left to himself should sink below the poem, as that the 
poem left to itself should flag beneath the feelings of the 
reader. — But in my own instance, I had the additional 
mirfortune of having been gossipped about, as devoted 
to metaphysics, and worse than all, to a system incom- 
parably nearer to the visionary flights of Plato, and even 
to the jargon of the mystics, than to the established te- 
nets of Locke. Whatever, therefore, appeared with my 
name was condemned before hand, as predestined meta- 
physics. In a dramatic poem, which had been submit- 
ted by me to a gentleman of great influence in the Tha.- 
atrical world, occurred the following passage :— 

O we are querulous creatures! Little less 
Than all things can suffice to make us happy : 
And little more than nothing is enough 
To make us wretchede 

Aye, here now ! (exclaimed the Critic) here come Cole- 
ridge's Metaphysics ! And the very same motive (that 
is, not that the lines were unfit for the present state of 
our immense Theatres, but that they were Metaphys- 
ics'^) was assigned elsewhere for the rejection of the 

* Poor unlucky Metaphysics ! and what are they ? A single sentence 
expresses the object and thereby the contents of tfiis science. Fvw^i ch- 
isuTov : el Deuni quantum licet et in Deo omnia scibis. Know thj^^elf 


two following passages. The first is spoken in answer 
to a usiirper, who had rested his plea on the circum- 
stance, that he had been chosen by the acclamations oi' 
the people : — 

What people? Howconven'd? OrifconvenM, 

Must Dot that magic power that charms together 

Blillions of men in council, needs have power 

To win or wield them ? Rather, O far rather, 

Shout forth thy titles to yon circling mountains. 

And with a thousandfold reverberation 

Make the rocks flatter thee, and the volleying air, 

Unbribed, shout back to thee, King Emerich ! 

By wholesome laws to embank the Sovereign Power; 

To deepen by restraint; and by prevention 

Of lawless will to amass and guide the flood 

in its majestic channel, is man's task 

And the true patriot's glory ! In all else 

iMen safclier trust to heaven, than to themselves 

When least themselves : even in those whirling crowds 

"Where folly is contagious, and too oft 

Even wise men leave their better sense at home 

To chide and wonder at them, when return'd. 

The second passage is in the mouth of an old and expe- 
rienced Courtier, betrayed by the man in whom he had 

mosl trusted. 

And yet Sarolta, simple, inexperienced, 

Could see him as he was and oft has warn'd me. 

Whence learnt she this ? O she av as innocent. 

And to be innocent is Nature's vvisdom. 

The fledge dove knows the prowlers of the air 

Fear'd soon as seen, and flutters back to shelter f 

And the young steed recoils upon his haunches, 

The never-yet-seen adder's hiss first heard 1 

Ah! fcurer than suspicion's hundred eyes 

Is that fine sense, which to the pure in heart 

By mere oppugnancy of their own goodness 

Keveals the approach of evil ! 

As, therefore, my character as a writer could not easily 
be more injured by an overt-act than it was already ia 

and so shall thou know God, as far as is permitted to a creature, and in 
God all \hings. — Surely, there is a strange— nay, rather a too jnaturaL 
JiVersic«i iamany to know themselves. 


consequence of the report, 1 published a work, a large 
portion of which was professedly metaphysical. A long 
delay occurred between its first annunciation and its ap- 
pearance ; it was reviewed thfrefore by anticipation with 
a malignity, so avowedly and exclusively personal, as is, 
I believe, unprecedented even in the present contempt 
of all common humanity that disgraces and endangers the 
liberty of the press After its appearance, the author 
of this lampoon was chosen to review it in the Edinburgh 
Review ; and under the single condition, that he should 
have written what he himself really thought, and have 
criticised the work as he would have done had ts author 
been ind flerent to him, I should have chosen that man 
myself both from the vigour and the originality of his 
mind, and from his parti(!ular acuteness in speculative 
reasoning, before all others. I remembered Catullus's 

Desine de quoquam quicquam bene velle mereri, 

Aut aliquem fieri posse putare pium. 
Omnia sunt ingrata: nihil fecisse benigne est; 

Imo% etiam taedet, taedet obestque magis. 
Ut mihi, quern nemo gravius nee aceribus urget 

Quam modoqui me unum atque unicum amicum habuit. 

But I can truly say, that the grief with which I read 
this rhapsody of predetermined insult, bad the Rhapso- 
dist himself for its whole and sole object: and that the 
indignant contempt which it excited in me was as ex- 
clusively confined to hi^ employer and suborner. I refer 
to this Review at present, in consequence of information 
having been sjiven me, that the innuendo of my " poten- 
tial infidelity," grounded on one passage of my first Lay- 
Sermon, has been received and propagated with a degree 
of credence, of w^hich I can safely acquit the originator of 
the calumny. I give the sentences as they st?nd in the 
sermon, premising only that I was speaking exclusively 
of miracles worked for the outward senses of men '* It 
was only to overthrow the usurpation exercised in and 
through the senses, that the senses were miraculously ap- 
pealed to. Reason and Religion are their own evi- 
dence. The natural sun is in this respect a symbol of 
the spiritual. Ere he is fully arisen, and while his glories 


are still under veil, he calls up the breeze to chase away 
the usurping vapours of the night season, and thus con* 
verts the air itself into the minister of its own purification : 
not surely in proof or elucidation of the light from heaven, 
but lo prevent its interception. 

'' Wherever, therefore, similar circumstances co-exist 
with the same moral causes, the principles revealed, and 
the examples recorded, in the inspired writings, render 
miracles superfluous : and if we neglect to apply truths 
in expectation of wonders, or under pretext of the cessa- 
tion of the latter, we tempt God, and merit the same re- 
ply which our Lord gave to the Pharisees on a like 

In the sermon and the notes, both the historical truth and 
the necessity of the miracles are strongly and frequently 
asserted. ■' The testimony of books of history, (i. e. re- 
latively to the signs and wonders, with which Christ 
came,) is one of the strong and stately pillars of the 
church ; but it is not the foundation /" Instead, there- 
fore, of defending myself, which I could easily eifect by 
a series of passages, expressing the same opinion, from the 
Fathers and the most eminent Protestant Divines, from the 
Reformation to the Revolution, I shall merely state what 
my belief is, concerning the true evidences of Christianity, 
.1. Its consistency with right Reason, I consider as the 
outer Court of the Temple — the common area, within 
which it stands. 2. The miracles, with and through 
which the Religion was first revealed and attested, I re- 
gard as the steps, the vestibule, and the portal of the 
Temple. 3. The sense, the inward feeling, in the soul 
of each Believer of its exceeding desirableness — the expe- 
rience that he needs something, joined with the strong 
foretokening, that the Redemption and the Graces pro- 
pounded to us in Christ, are whath^ needs ; — this I hold 
to be the true Foundation of the spiritual Edifice. With 
the strong apWori probabilit}' that flows in from 1 and 3 on 
the correspondent historical evidence of 2, no man can 
refuse or neglect to make the experiment without guilt. 
But, 4, it is the experience derived from a practical con- 
formity to the conditions of theGbspel — it is the opening 
Eye ; the dawning Light ; the terrors and the promises 
of spiritual Growth ; the blessedness of loving God as 
God, the nascent sense of Sin hated as Sin, and of thein- 

VoL.n. n 


eapability oi attaing to eiiher without Christ : it is the 
sorrow that sail rises up Irom beneath, and the conso- 
lation that meets it from above ; the bosom treacheries 
of the Friacipal in the warfare, and the exceeding faith- 
fiihiess and long-suneriniT of the uninterested Ally ; — in 
a word, it is the actual Trial of the Faith in Christ, with 
its accompaniments and results, that must form the arched 
UooF, and tlie Faith itself is the completing Kev-stone. In 
order to an ethcient belief in Christianity, a man must have 
been a Christian, and this is the seeming argumentum in 
circulo, incident to all spiritual Truths, to every subject 
not presentable under the forms of Time and Space, as 
long as we attempt to master by the retlex acts of the 
Undertandin^, what we can only hiozc by the act of 6c- 
coming, *' Do the will of my father, and ye shall know 
whether I am of God.** These four evidences I beheve 
to have been, and stiil to be. for the world, tor the whole 
church, all necessary, all equally necessary ; but that 
at present, and tor the majority of Christians born in 
Christian countries, I believe the third and the fourth 
evidences to be the most operative, not as superseding, 
but as involving a glad undoubting tliith in the two former. 
CreJidi, inde6que intellexi, appears to me the dictate 
equally of Philosophy and Religion, even as I believe 
Redemption to be the antecedent of Sanctihcation, and 
not its consequent. All spiritual predicates may be con- 
strued indiderently as modes of Action, or as states of 
Being. Thus Holiness and Blessednesss are the same 
idea, now seen in relation to act. and now to existence. 
The ready belief which has been yielded to the shmder 
of my ** potential intidelity,*' I attribute in part to the 
openness with which 1 have avowed my doubts, whether 
the heavy interdict, under which the name of Bexedict 
Spixoza lies, is merited on the whole, or to the whole ex- 
tent. Be this as it may. 1 wish, however^ that I could 
find in the books of philosophy, -theoretical or moral, 
nhich are alone recommended to the present students 
of Theoloiry in our established schools, a few passages 
as thoroughly Pauline, as completely accordant with the 
doctrines of the established Church, as the following sen- 
tences in the concluding page of Spinoza's Ethics. Deinde 
quo mens amore divine seu beafitudine magis gaudet, eo 
plus {ntelh'git, c6 majorem in uffeclus habct potentiam, et 


e6 minus ab affectibus, qui mah* sunt, patitur : atque ade6 ex 
eo, qu6d mens hoc amore divino seu beatitudine gaudet, 
potestatem habet libidines coercendi, nemo beatitudine 
gaudet quia affectus coercuit ; sed contra potestas libi- 
dines coercendi ex ipsa beatitudine oritur. 

With regard to the Unitarians, it has been shamelessly 
asserted, that 1 have denied them to be Christians. God 
forbid ! For how should I know what the piety of the 
heart may be, or what quantum of error in the under- 
standing may consist with a saving faith in the intentions 
and actual dispositions of the whole moral being in any 
one individual ? Never will God reject a soul that sincere- 
ly loves him, be his speculative opinions what they 
may ; and whether in any given instance certain opi- 
nions, be they unbelief or misbelief, are compatable 
with a sincere love of God, God only can know. But 
this I have said, and shall continue to say; that if the 
doctrines, the sum of which I believe to constitute the 
truth in Christ, he Christianity, then unitarian^sm is not, 
and vice versa : and that in speaking theologically and 
impersonally^ i. e. of Psilanthropism and Theanthropism 
as schemes of belief, without reference to individuals 
who profess either the one or the other, it will be absurd 
to use a different language as long as it is the dictate of 
common sense, that two opposites cannot properly be 
called by the same name. 1 should feel no offence if a 
unitarian applied the same to me, any more than if he 
were to say, that 2 and 2 being 4, 4 and 4 must be 8. 

AXXa P^oTwv 
Tov iltv K£vo(ppov« aoXQJ 

Tov S* axi xaTcjAEjKpS-fvT' a<yav 

Jo"xuv OIKftWV xaT£CT(pGA.fV KaV-*3V 

XfijtfJ fAxcov ozrio-o-co, ©ujioj ctoAmo'* 

This has been my object, and this alone can be my 
defence — and O ! that with this my personal as well as 
my LiTERATY LIFE might conclude ! the unquenched de- 
sire I mean, not v/ithout the CQnsciousness of having 
earnestly endeavoured to kindle young minds, and to 
guard them against the temptations of Scorners, by 
showing that the Scheme of Christianity, as taught in the 
Liturgy and Homilies of our Church, though not disco- 


verable by human Reason, is yet in accordance with it: 
thfit link follows link by necessary consequence ; that 
Religion passes out of the ken of reason only where the 
eye of reason has reached its own horizon ; and that 
faith is then but its continuation : even as the day sof- 
tens away into the sw eet twilight, and twilight, hushed 
and breathles?, steals into the darkness. It is night, sa- 
cred night ! the upraised eye views only the starry hea- 
ven which manifests itself alone ; and the outward be- 
holding is fixed on the sparks twinkling in the awful 
depth, though s\ms of other worlds, only to preserve the 
soul steady and collected in its pure act of inward adora- 
tion to the great I AM, and to the filial Word that re-af- 
firneth it from eternity to eternity, whose choral echo 
18 th^ universe. 







jYo. 22 Wall-street, 

And forwarded to the subscribers throughout the United 
States, by mail or such other conveyance as may be di- 
rected by the patrons of the work. The very great in- 
crease of patronage which the present pubHshers have 
received, and the following extracts from recommenda-» 
tions from several of the most eminent Hterary charac- 
ters in our country, will be sufficient to evince the con- 
tinued interest and merit of these distinguished journals. 

Salem, (Mass.) JVov. 11, 1816. 

I have the pleasure to acknowledge the receipt of 
your letter of the 2d inst. If anything I could say would 
increase the circulation of the Edinburgh and Quarterly 
Reviews, my testimony would b^ very cheerfully given 
in their favour. They are, however, so well k^own in 
the United states, and their character, critical, literary^ 
and scientific, is so well established, that commendation 
seems almost useless. They have hitherto made 'their 
way to a very general patronage by their intrinsic excel- 
lence in almost every department of knowledge ; and if 
they continue to exhibit the same spirit of research, and 
the same variety of talent, we may all say, in the 
language of Dr. Johnson, it will be vain to blame, and 
useless to praise them. 

I am, very respectfully, your most obedient servant, 


Washington, J^ov, 9, 1816. 

The only hesitation which I feel in replying to your 
letter of the 6th of this month, is, that commendation of 
the Edinburgh Review, at any hands, would seem super- 
fluous. The more it is read the better. Besides the 
useful and various matter which enrich its pages, so of- 
ten, too, assuming an elementary cast, there is scarcely 
a number but brings with it the gratifications of classic 
and beautiful writing. If its disquisitions sometimes slide 

into unkindness to America, it is not often, and it comes 
to us, upon the whole, even upon this ground, with a 
great preponderance of redeeming merit. Readers of 
taste open its numbers with avidity. In science it is in- 
structive, in morals pure, in the Belles Lettres delight- 
ful, and in politics we frequently see it pleading with 
eloquence and spirit the just rights of minkind. I, for 
one, most heartily wish it a wide circulation in our 
country. It cannot fail to help the cause of literature 
and genius. 

I am, respectfuly, your obedient servant, 


New-York, Dec. 3, 1816. 

The reputation of the Edinburgh and Quarterly Re- 
views, for literature, science, and criticism, is so well 
and justly established, as to render commendation from 
any quarter superfluous. That you may succeed iu 
your laudable undertaking is my earnest wish. 
Your's, &c. 


New-York, \^th Nov, 1816. 

I shall be happy if any opinion of mine, as to the me- 
rits and utility of the Quarterly and Edinburgh Reviews, 
can be of service to you. 

It seems to me that the commencement of these publi- 
cations will form a new and brilliant era in the history of 
literature ; not only as they are distinguished from every 
thing of the same nature which preceded them in point 
©f literary merit, but as it introduced a new and happy 
mode of diffusing scientific information. 

I consider these Journals as invaluable to a great many 
people in this country, who, like myself, cannot have 
access to the books to which they introduce us, and who 
have not much leisure for reading on subjects uncon- 
nected with our professional pursuits. Very often, indeed, 
we learn from them but little of the writers which they 
profess to review ; but they afford us information as to 
the state and transactions of the republic of letters which 
we on this side of the Atlantic could not gather from any 
other source. They give us a knowledge of the peo- 
ple, religion, morals,mann€rs, politics, and literature of 

urope, and of the arts and sciences, and of th^, improve- 
ments which are daly makin-^; on therr>, which wc' should 
be in a ^^reat measure without, were it not for thrs- i\ rks. 

For my own part, I feel so mach indehted to these 
Reviewers, that I can very readily foriive them the m- 
justice and illiberality with which they son j> times treat 
our country and countryme». We sho'^ld ior k on these 
|)arts of their work with the same compasoion or con- 
tempt that we regard the acts of otiter men, who nave 
the misfortune to be ignorant, or, who are so unhappy as 
to be under the influence of envy, jealousy, or pride. — 
We shall by and by, it is to be hoped, have on tliis side 
the Atlantic, reviews conducted with some portion of 
the ability which distinguishes the Qiarterly and Edin- 
burgh, and then Europeans will be better acquainted 
with us. 

1 am, gentlemen, very respectfully, 

your obedient hiim.ble servant, 

Extract from a letter from C. A. Rodney, Esq. dated 
Vfilmington, {Del.) JVov, 18^//, 1816. 

In this excellent journal, the scholar, the philosopher, 
and the statesman, may all find lessons of instruction ; and 
neither of them should be without a copy. To profes- 
sional men, and to those in the common walk of life, it 
affords a constant fund of rational entertainment and valu- 
able information. To the fair sex it is a precious acqui- 
sition at this enlightened period, w^ien they have been 
justly admitted to share in the common stock of science 
and literature. 

The volumes already published, furnish a library of 
modern knowledge and late improvements in the arts, 
united with ancient learning and classical lore ; they al- 
most complete the circle of the sciences. 

The merits of the Reviews mentioned in the above 
statement, are, in my opinion, pre-eminently great, as 
literary works, and the American publishers are entitled 
to the public patronage. 


Neu^'York, \^th August, 1812. ^ 

The Edinburgh and Quarterly Reviews being superior 
to all other works of the same kind, I earnestly hope that 

the proprietors may be encouraged to continue their re- 
publiCfition in this country. 

August, 1812. RUFUS KING. 

I cordially concur in the same recommendation of the 
repuhHcation of the Edinburt;h and Quarterly Reviews, 
and in the same opinion of their merits. 


I sincerely concur in the wish that the American pub- 
lisher of the Edinburgh and Quarterly Reviews may be 
encouraged to continue the republication of them. 


The Edinburgh Review, now many years published, I 
have read with great pleasure, and I hope not without 
some improvement, it has worked its own way frora 
the horizon to the zenith, and its ascent has left a path 
sufficiently luminous to show how greatly it has distanced 
all its competitors, by interesting and enlightening the 
four quarters of the globe, wherever British prowess 
or British enterprise has introduced its native language ; 
*'in regions where the Roman Eagles never flew," its 
celebrity is established ; and the elaboration of science, 
depth of research, poignancy of satire, acumen of wit, 
and raciness of pleasantry with which it abounds, no lon- 
ger stand in need of an eulogist ; but notwithstanding this, 
it may not be superfluous to remark, that the intelligence 
and liberality it has manifested in its recent discussions 
of this country, at once peculiarly recommend and adapt 
it for the perusal of American readers. 


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